An official obituary explained that Vernita died at her home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Winfrey has always been outspoken about the tumultuous relationship she had with her mother when she was young.
Vernita had a son, Jeffrey, who died in 1989 from AIDS. Private funeral services have been held. The family directed memorials to Feeding America in Lee's name.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Oprah and her family during this hard time.
Winfrey lived with her grandmother for six years.
"I suddenly land in a place that's completely foreign to me. I don't really even know my mother", Oprah said of the childhood move, Newsweek reported.
Vernita appeared on Oprah Winfrey Show a handful of times, including in 2011, when it was revealed that the daughter she gave up for adoption in 1963, Patricia, was finally found. "To my mother, I say, 'You can let this shame go'". "What are you supposed to feel about your mother?" She described having to sleep on her mother's porch when she first arrived in Milwaukee because her mother's roommate took issue with Winfrey's skin complexion.
"I remember the first night entering into the house and being told that I wouldn't be able to sleep with my mother, and I wouldn't be able to sleep inside the house". She named her Orpah, but because of mispronunciations, she later became known as Oprah.
Lee is survived by Oprah and her other daughter, Patricia Amanda Faye Lee. Oprah had not met her half-sister Patricia until 2010 and said she was shocked to learn about her long-lost sibling. Another one of her children died in 2003. Speaking at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's annual Freedom Fund dinner, she said her best Christmas ever was in Milwaukee when she was 12.
No other details were given.
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