— TODAY (@TODAYshow) August 17, 2015
Kathie Lee Gifford made an emotional return to the Today show on Monday, Aug. 17, one week after her husband, Frank Gifford, died at age 84. Joining co-anchor Hoda Kotb for the fourth hour of the NBC morning show, the veteran TV host gave a beautiful tribute to her late love, and acknowledged fans for their support during this difficult time.
"I want to thank everybody for your love and your texts and your tweets…the outpouring has been extraordinary," she shared. "It's a heck of a way to find out how loved you are. Believe me, my family and I got great strength and comfort from it."
Kathie Lee's return came one day after her 62nd birthday — which would have been Frank's 85th birthday, as well.
Recalling their last moments together, she said they "laughed up to the very end." She also said she was "grateful" for how peaceful his death was.
"He passed away instantly that morning, all dressed in what he knew was my favorite outfit — white shirt, very tight black jeans — having his coffee, watching his TV, getting ready to go, ready for church, and excited about what we were gonna have for lunch," she shared. "I'm grateful the Lord took him that way. Because the only thing Frank was ever afraid of in his entire life was being a burden to those he loved."
As previously reported, the famed sportscaster and former New York Giants player died of natural causes at the couple's home in Connecticut.
"I just want everyone to know this was a man at complete peace in his life," she told viewers. "He might have been the happiest, most contented person in the world at this point in his life…Honestly, he's the most grateful human being I've ever known in my life. And that colored everything he did."
She went on to speak at length about Frank's faith, recalling how it helped him through the "darkest times" of his life.
"He'd want you to know that he died in complete peace. He knew every sin he'd ever committed was forgiven," she said. "He had the hope that he would be with the Lord and that someday we would be with him as well."
Kathie Lee and her husband married in 1986, and shared son Cody, 25, and daughter Cassidy, 22. The Hall of Famer also had three children from his first marriage to Maxine Avis.
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