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Oprah Winfrey is famous for handing out free gifts, such as a new car, to her studio audience.

But is the talk show goddess keeping a significant secret from her adoring fans?

According to the cover story in this week’s National Enquirer, Oprah only has a few years to live. The unreliable* celebrity gossip tabloid claims it brought in “experts” to review Winfrey’s medical history.

These anonymous sources say the star’s battle with her weight is due to a faulty thyroid that will send her to an “early grave.” Reportedly (i.e. not remotely accurately), she’s considering surgery to have the thyroid removed.

How pissed will members of Oprah’s audience be when she opens a future show with: “Everyone here is getting… a piece of my thyyyyyyyyroid!”

* As with any National Enquirer article, we must state the caveat that the publication was the first to report that John Edwards was having an affair with Rielle Hunter. (We’re reminded of that story about a blind squirrel finding a nut…)