August 31, 2012 (WLS) — ‘GMA’ host Robin Roberts’ mother has passed away at the age of 88, just hours after Robin said goodbye to the show to take a medical leave of absence.

Roberts exited ‘Good Morning America’ to have a bone-marrow transplant from her sister Sally-Ann Roberts.

Roberts traveled home to Mississippi and made her way through flooded and blocked roads to be with her beloved ailing mother just in time.Lucimarian Tolliver Roberts was the first African American to head Mississippi’s board of education.


She was passionate about music and the written word and even authored a book titled, “My Story, My Song,” which Robin Roberts collaborated on.

Robin Roberts’ last day on “Good Morning America” before leave was originally going to be Friday.

Robin Roberts told viewers in July that she has MDS, a blood and bone marrow disease once known as preleukemia.

But looking further ahead, Roberts noted she is luckier than many workers who become ill. She says her bosses have been generous in giving her the needed time off, and her job is waiting for her when she’s well enough to return. She described herself as “very blessed.”

“See you later. See you soon. I’ll get back as soon as I can,” she promised at the close of her emotional send-off from the show Thursday.

During her absence, a number of famous faces will be subbing for her, including previously announced fellow ABC News colleagues Katie Couric, Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer and Elizabeth Vargas.

In addition, Roberts announced that Oprah Winfrey, Chris Rock and Rob Lowe will be among the stand-ins, as well as the cast of the ABC comedy “Modern Family.”

But two of Roberts’ on-air colleagues couldn’t be there, thanks to the demands of breaking news.

From New Orleans, weather anchor Sam Champion voiced warm wishes, as did co-anchor George Stephanopoulos from the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. He had left behind a gift for Roberts: a tap bell.

“Whatever you need, whenever you need it, ring that bell,” he said.

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