Kathie Lee Gifford is paying tribute to her beloved mother.
Just one day after confirming via Twitter that her mom, Joan Epstein, died at the age of 87, the Today show anchor opened her show Wednesday with an emotional message.
"My mom, if you didn't know, she passed away in her sleep, in her beautiful bed, yesterday morning," Gifford said, trying to hold back tears. "Just like [my late husband] Frank, I believe she saw Jesus and Jesus took her breath away. It gives me great comfort and I know a lot of people are hurting in the world today. A lot of people are going through so much, there's a lot of fear in the world today. I just suggest that you take hold of God's hand because he's real good at carrying things for you and perfect love casts out all fear and he loves us perfectly. Nobody knew that more than my mom."
Gifford continued on, sharing her favorite memories with "Joannie," who made several guest appearances on the show over the years. There were a lot of laughs, which were apparent in the clips Gifford shared with viewers.
"I'm just so happy for her," Gifford said, revealing that she would call her mother every morning at 9 a.m. before she went on air. "I remember Frank saying the last year of his life, 'I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid at all. In fact, I'm starting to really get curious.' And my mom had no fear. She had the strongest faith of anybody I've ever known and I'm grateful for her every day of my life, even when she was driving me crazy, because she was such a lady."
"She's already had one day in heaven," Gifford continued, adding that she's happy her mother and father, Aaron, who died in 2002, are reunited. "Now they're joined and my mom has been missing him so much for the last almost 13 years."
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