After Gifford and her 25-year-old son Cody found Frank, 84, collapsed and unresponsive at the couple’s home on Aug. 9, they then had to find a way to get the news to Cassidy, who was on her way to Santa Fe, New Mexico to begin filming her role in the upcoming film Angels and Outlaws.
"The hardest part of the day other than finding Frank was that we couldn't get in touch with Cass because she was in the air," Kathie Lee said of breaking the news to her 22-year-old daughter, who had a stopover in St. Paul, Minnesota.
"I wanna thank my friend Gail over at Delta Air Lines," Gifford continued. "She said to us, 'We will find the nicest person we have working in St. Paul' -- and there are a lot of nice people in St. Paul -- 'and we will have her meet the plane.'"
An airline employee was able to meet Cassidy when she landed at the St. Paul airport, Gifford said, and had her call home immediately, a relief to her grieving mother.
"The worst thing you want to do is ever get news like that from a monitor while you're walking wherever you are," Gifford said. "We got her home and we pulled the wagons together."
Gifford also told co-host Hoda Kotb and former Live With Regis and Kathie Lee colleague Regis Philbin that her kids surprised her on her first day back to work by waking up early to accompany their mom to the Today show studios in New York City.
Just last month, Cassidy spoke to ET about her budding acting resume and forging a career path separate from her famous parents.
"It's important for me to have my career completely compartmentalized and separated from my mom's," the actress said at the time. "It's hard because 90 percent of the time there's a preconceived notion about me going in for an audition, or anything, whatever it is. But at the end of the day, she's a mom and she wants to share in the experiences and be a part of it."