Less than 24 hours after it was confirmed that Oprah Winfrey's mother, Vernita Lee, died on Thanksgiving, the television mogul took to social media to share a tribute and express gratitude for the support she's received since.
"Thank you all for your kind words and condolences regarding my mother Vernita Lee’s passing," she wrote in the caption of a family photo on Instagram. "It gives our family great comfort knowing she lived a good life and is now at peace."
According to a statement released by the family, Vernita died at her home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the age of 83. It's unclear if she was ill as no cause of death has been revealed.
Vernita, who worked as a housekeeper for most of her life, gave birth to Oprah, her first child, at the age of 18 while living in rural Mississippi.
Due to unfortunate circumstances, she wasn't able to care for her daughter for the first six years of her life, so Oprah was left to be raised by her grandmother.
Oprah did eventually move to Milaukee to live with her mother, but their relationship had many ups and downs. It wasn't until the Queen of Media was much older that she and Vernita were really able to start repairing their relationship.
Vernita has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show on several different occasions, including in 2011, when it was revealed that the daughter she gave up for adoption in 1963, Patricia, was finally found.
Vernita rarely opened up about to the media, but in an interview with Milwaukee local station TMJ4, she said that taught Oprah about loving others and being generous.
"I loved her the way that she loves people now," she said, adding that she was most proud of her daughter when she "did The Color Purple" in 1985.
Oprah backed up her mother's comments during a 2013 visit to Pewaukee. While talking about her childhood, the popular host credited her mother for teaching her the importance of giving as a way to "enlarge the spirit of somebody else."
Beside Oprah and Patricia, Vernita had two other children, both of whom died years ago. She is survived by her daughters, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
By the time the news of her passing broke, Lee had already been laid to rest in a private funeral, according to TMZ. The family has asked for any memorial donations to be made to Feeding America in Vernita's name.