Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
/ Source: TODAY
By Scott Stump

Oprah Winfrey's mother, Vernita Lee, died on Thanksgiving at her home in Milwaukee at the age of 83, her family confirmed in a news release to TODAY.

Lee, who was born on May 2, 1935, gave birth to Winfrey, 64, as a teenager in 1954 in Mississippi. She worked as a housemaid throughout her life, settling in Milwaukee when Oprah was 6 after moving from the South.

Oprah's mother, Venita Lee, has died at 83. George Burns Photography

The television mogul is the oldest of Lee's four children. Winfrey's half sister, Patricia Lee Lloyd, and half brother, Jeffrey Lee, died in 2003 and 1989, respectively.

Lee is survived by Winfrey and daughter Patricia Amanda Faye Lee, whom she gave up for adoption at birth and reconnected with later in life. Lee is also survived by four grandchildren and a great grandchild.

Private funeral services have already been held, the family announced.

Oprah mourned Lee's passing on Instagram on Monday.

"Thank you all for your kind words and condolences regarding my mother Vernita Lee’s passing," the mogul wrote. "It gives our family great comfort knowing she lived a good life and is now at Peace."

Lee opened up about being Oprah's mother in a 2007 interview with Milwaukee television station WTMJ.

"I knew Oprah was going to be something,'' she said. "I loved her the way that she loves people now."

Lee noted that she was most proud of Oprah's work in the 1985 movie "The Color Purple,'' which earned 11 Oscar nominations.

Lee also spoke about enduring the death of two children.

"I’m a Christian lady, and if you’re a Christian person, it helps you to deal with situations like that," she said.

Winfrey does not have any children of her own, which she spoke about in an interview last year.

"I didn’t want babies," she said in an interview with Good Housekeeping UK. "I wouldn’t have been a good mom for babies. I don’t have the patience."