Robin Roberts' mother, Lucimarian, dies at 88

NEW YORK

"It is with deep regret and heavy prayer and reflection tonight that I write to tell you of the passing of Robin's beautiful and inspiring mother, Lucimarian," Tom Cibrowski, executive producer of "GMA," wrote in an email to ABC staff.

Robin Roberts had announced that she was leaving the show a day earlier to be with her ailing mother. She had planned to depart after Friday's show to begin medical leave for treatment of the bone marrow disorder MDS.

"Robin arrived home with her sister Sally-Ann, forging through flooded and blocked roads to be with her beloved mother in time to see her," Cibrowski wrote.

Over the years, Lucimarian Roberts made numerous appearances on "GMA." She was the first black to head Mississippi's Board of Education in the 1980s, and her passion for music and poetry led her to write a book this year titled "My Story, My Song," on which Robin Roberts collaborated.

"I sing because the music of the church speaks my soul language," she wrote in the book. "I sing because these songs are tightly woven in to the texture of who I am."

Her family is gathered in Pass Christian, Miss., and plan to have a small private service. In addition to Robin and Sally-Ann, Lucimarian Roberts is survived by son Butch, daughter Dorothy and eight grandchildren.

Cibrowski said there would be a special tribute to Lucimarian Roberts on 'GMA.' Details were being worked out.

ABC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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