Kathie Lee Gifford made a bittersweet return to the Today show this week, thanking fans and shedding a few tears in her first time back on the air since the death of her husband, Frank Gifford.
Kathie Lee returned to the show on Monday, giving a tearful tribute for her husband of 29 years while also maintaining her famous sense of humor. In her return, Kathie Lee said she was overwhelmed by the love and support she received in the previous week, the Los Angeles Times noted.
“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.”
Gifford died in his home on August 9 of natural causes. Gifford said he passed peacefully.
Kotb had her own emotional tribute to Frank Gifford last week. A large segment of the first show after Frank Gifford’s death was dedicated to his memory, and Kotb broke down while talking about Kathie’s reaction.
“She is remarkably strong, I’m in awe of her even today,” Kotb said.
Kotb added that Kathie Lee Gifford was keeping perspective on Frank’s death.
“Kathie said something to me yesterday, she said ‘This is not a tragedy.’ I was holding her hand and she said, ‘A four-year-old girl having cancer is a tragedy.’
“She said Frank lived to be nearly 85, she said he lived an incredible life, has an incredible family, has an incredible legacy. She said his life is a triumph.”
Kathie Lee has expressed gratitude to fans and those reaching out with messages of support.
Deeply grateful to all 4 ur outpouring of grace. We r steadfast in our faith & finding comfort in knowing where Frank is. Phillippians 4:13.
— Kathie Lee Gifford (@KathieLGifford) August 9, 2015
She has also leaning on her faith to get her through the difficult time.
Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; Poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 2Corinthians 6:10.
— Kathie Lee Gifford (@KathieLGifford) August 16, 2015
In her return to the Today show, Kathie Lee said her husband was preparing for church when he passed.
“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 said (via Us Weekly). “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.”
But Kathie Lee Gifford still had her sense of humor in the return to the Today show. She joked that whenever she would be annoyed with Frank, he would respond, “You know, a lot of people like me.”
[Image via Getty Images]