Kathie Lee Gifford Returns to the 'Today' Show and Pays Touching Tribute to Frank Gifford
By Antoinette Bueno
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Kathie Lee Gifford returned to work on the Today show on Monday, but first paid an emotional tribute to her late husband, Frank Gifford.
The 84-year-old NFL Hall of Famer and broadcaster died on August 9 from natural causes. He and Kathie Lee had been married since 1986, and have two kids together, 25-year-old Cody Newton and 22-year-old Cassidy Erin.
"The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, and that's something my family has been through this past week," Kathie Lee said on-air on Monday.
"We laughed up to the very end," she stressed. "I just want everyone to know that this is a man who was at complete peace in his life. He might've been the happiest, most contented person at this point in his life."
The 62-year-old television personality delved into Frank's childhood, explaining that he grew up in the Great Depression and sometimes ate dog food as a child, but was "grateful to have it."
"So people who think he was born with this silver spoon in his mouth, he goes, 'We didn't have spoons.' But it made him so grateful," she explained. "Honestly, he's the most grateful human being I have ever known, and that colored everything he did."
Kathie Lee said Frank's deep faith was also a huge part of his life.
"As a young child, Frank asked Jesus into his heart and that remained with him for the rest of his life," she said. "He strayed from his faith on occasion, but his faith never left him, and especially after we found each other and started sharing our faith together, it became more and more and more important to Frank."
"His world got smaller as his God got bigger, and he'd want you to know that he died in complete peace," she added. "He knew every sin that he ever committed was forgiven. He had that hope that he would be with the Lord, and that we would be someday with him as well."
Kathie Lee stressed that Frank died in exactly the way he wanted.
"He passed away instantly that morning, all dressed in what he knew was my favorite outfit -- white shirt, very tight black jeans, he knew he looked good -- having his TV, getting ready to go, getting ready for church, excited about what we were going to have for lunch," she revealed. "I'm grateful that the Lord took him away that way because the only thing Frank has ever been afraid of his entire life was being a burden to those he loved. He never wanted to be hooked up to machines. He never wanted to lose his dignity. He'd seen so much of that through the years."