In her life, Lucimarian became the first African-American to serve atop the Mississippi Board of Education. Robin was close to her mother and the two released a joint book, My Story, My Song - Mother-Daughter Reflections on Life and Faith, this past March.
Robin is battling a blood and bone marrow disorder called MDS and took her medical leave for an upcoming bone marrow transplant a day early Thursday, ABC said, so she could travel "home to Mississippi just in time to see her."
The beloved broadcaster told her GMA colleagues, "I take you with me in my heart…I will be back, just so you know. See you later, see you soon, I'll get back as soon as I can," upon her departure Thursday.
A revolving slate of big name hosts, including Katie Couric, Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer and Elizabeth Vargas, will stand in for Roberts during her medical leave. There is no timetable for her return.
"Life provides losses and heartbreak for all of us. But the greatest tragedy is to have the experience, and miss the meaning," Robin, 51, said Thursday. "I am determined not to miss that meaning."
GMA Anchor Robin Roberts Has Rare Blood Disease, Will Undergo Bone Marrow Transplant