The 80-year-old actress had been suffering from a number of health issues in recent years, including an ongoing battle with diabetes, and on Wednesday the beloved American television icon's longtime representative confirmed her tragic passing.

Oprah spoke to Entertainment Tonight by telephone after hearing the sad news, and told Nancy O'Dell she is struggling to process the television icon’s death.

"What I'm grateful for is that, in my lifetime, I was able to share with her what her presence in television had meant to me as a young, growing, aspiring reporter," she said. "It's the first time that I can recall a public figure in recent years passing - and we've lost so many people recently - where I actually sat down and shed tears about it."

Oprah is one of the biggest name in the television world, with an empire worth billions. But when she started in the business, it was Moore who inspired her, with the host citing the actress as a "role model" for "young, single women in the workforce".

"Mary Tyler Moore first gave me the idea that you can own your own show and produce it. She was the one," she added. "So, when I say that she had a powerful influence on me, it wasn't just being that iconic figure that was women in the workforce, doing the same job I was doing, working in news as a journalist, in a newsroom, and who was single and really OK with it. Every episode wasn't about trying to find a man, it was about trying to find your way in life.

"She paved the way through storytelling for women, and was a value system for women without even knowing it. So, her legacy will live on in ways I know the creators of (The Mary Tyler Moore Show) never even imagined."

Oprah will also feature in a special CBS tribute to the actress, entitled Mary Tyler Moore: Love Is All Around, airing on Thursday night (26Jan17).

Following Moore's death, Internet sales of her biggest projects skyrocketed. According to, sales of The Mary Tyler Moore Show were up 23,000 per cent, while The DICk Van Dyke Show sales are up almost 5,000 per cent.

Meanwhile, Ordinary People, the 1980 movie for which Moore received a Best Actress Oscar nomination, has increased sales of almost 3,000 per cent.