Practice News Story 5: Obituary
The world mourns as Oprah unexpectedly passes away
CHICAGO, Ill.- Having been noted as caring, benevolent, understanding of various groups of people, and someone who truly made a positive impact not just in her native country but the entire world by peers and non-peers alike, the the international network of those touched by Oprah Winfrey are mourning her passing yesterday afternoon.
Though healthy at the age of 54, Oprah Gail Winfrey tragically was mobbed by adoring fans after her afternoon talk show in Chicago. While walking to her car at 3:30 p.m. in lieu of driving home after another successful show, a large throng of fans entered the parking lot and stormed her. While the bodyguards around her tried to halt the mayhem, the sheer number of those madly wild to see her was too overwhelming. Having fallen to the ground in the onslaught of excitement, our dear Oprah suffocated beneath the pile.
Winfrey was the host of The Oprah Winfrey Show, which has won multiple Emmy Awards and is the highest-rated talk show in television history. Besides succeeding in the one medium in television, she was also a highly influential book critic, an Academy Award-nominated actress, and a magazine publisher. This bevy of successes has ranked her as the richest African American of the 20th century. Those who knew and spent continuous time with this remarkable woman, and even those who didn't know her on a personal level, call her the most influential woman in the world.
Oprah's time spent helping others and being accepting of those who hold preferences beliefs that may even be far from her own comes from her experiences earlier in life. She was born into poverty in Mississippi to an unwed, teenage mother. Throughout much of her child, she lived in Milwaukee. Tragically, she was raped as a nine-year-old, but fought through the trauma. Additional tragedy fell into her life when she at age 14 gave birth to a son who died as an infant.
However, her career was launched at just age 19, a young age to already be co-anchoring the local evening news, in Tennessee. The emotional impact that she made on her viewers quickly presented her with even greater opportunities until her own show eventually grew into the highest-rated program ever known to television.
Winfrey's humanitarian efforts were off the charts, especially in South Africa. In 2004, she and her crew went on a 21-day journey through the country exposing others in the United States to the poverty and AIDS that many of South Africa's citizens offer. The report was focused primarily on the children. In addition, she developed the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in the same country.
Oprah is survived by her partner of 22 years, Stedham Graham, and her four dogs. Additionally, she is survived by what she would call her 227 daughers of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, and her best friend Gayle King, who has said how touched she has been by Winfrey's work as a philanthropolist.
Millions of people in a great variety of countries could say how much Winfrey means to them in their lives, so a few quotes will not do this great woman justice. With that said, many powerful and influential leaders within this country do recognize the contributions that she has made in the world, thoughts that no doubt are reflected in the minds of many across the world:
Senator Barack Obama, current delegate leader for the Democratic nomination to be the next U.S. President, has said she "may be the most influential woman in the country," while renowned political and news analyst Bill O'Reilly has said that "this is a woman that came from nothing to rise up to be the most powerful woman, I think, in the world. I think Oprah Winfrey is the most powerful woman in the world, not just in America. That's — anybody who goes on her program immediately benefits through the roof. I mean, she has a loyal following; she has credibility; she has talent; and she's done it on her own to become fabulously wealthy and fabulously powerful."
While indeed powerful and influential, countless numbers of people in this country and beyond appreciate the love and the humility which she has shown others while she has gained such notoriety. Surely the world is losing one of its greatest contributors in its history in Oprah Winfrey.