Kathie Lee ‘remarkably strong’ after Frank Gifford’s death

Kathie Lee Gifford and Frank Gifford in New York in 2010.

Kathie Lee Gifford and Frank Gifford in New York in 2010.

(Charles Sykes / Associated Press)

Kathie Lee Gifford’s colleagues at NBC’s “Today” paid tribute to the life of her husband, football legend and broadcaster Frank Gifford, who died Sunday.

During Monday’s edition of “Today,” Hoda Kotb reported that her co-host on the fourth hour of the program was “remarkably strong” when she visited with her Sunday after Frank Gifford’s death was announced.

“Kath said, ‘This is not a tragedy. A 4-year-old girl having cancer is a tragedy. Frank lived to be almost 85. He lived an incredible life. He had incredible family. His life was a triumph,’” Kotb said.

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Kotb said she received a text from her co-host about Frank Gifford’s death while traveling back from New Orleans. Kathie Lee Gifford requested that no one come to the family’s Connecticut home, but Kotb headed there anyway.

“She looked at me and said ‘I’m so glad you never listen to me,’” Kotb said.

Kotb noted that when Kathie Lee talked about her husband, she always called him by his full name, Frank Gifford.

“We all got to know Frank,” Kotb said. “He wasn’t just the husband of someone you work with.”

Kotb recalled Frank’s advice shortly after she and Kathie Lee were teamed to host the fourth hour of “Today.”

“Let me tell you how you can have a hit show with Kathie Lee,” Frank Gifford told her. “You have to trust her with everything you have.”

Kotb said she spoke to Kathie Lee on Monday morning and said “she was so grateful for the outpouring of affection” she’s received after the news of her husband’s death.

The Giffords were married for 29 years after first meeting on another morning TV program, ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Frank Gifford died at their home in Connecticut of natural causes.


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