Friday was Kathie Lee Gifford’s last day on “Today,” and her final moments on the show didn’t come without a teary-eyed goodbye.
Tissue and champagne flute in hand, Gifford gave some parting words to the audience that’s watched her for the past 11 years.
“I have 30 seconds to say what has taken me a lifetime to say,” she said, before quoting from the Bible verse Jeremiah 29.
“‘I know the plans I have [for] you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope,'” Gifford said.
She added, “That’s not just true for me, you guys, that’s true for everybody watching. Trust Him, and let Him love you like He wants to love you, like I am loved by all of you.”
Gifford’s final episode included heartfelt words from special guests such as Dean Cain, Ryan Eggold, Barry Manilow and John Cena, as well as a video message from her longtime former co-host Regis Philbin.
“The best part of my TV life was my 15 years I spent with you,” Philbin said in the video.
Cena offered, “You made my time here special. You’re a very special person.”
Manilow serenaded her with his big hit, “I Can’t Smile Without You.”
Gifford’s two children Cody and Cassidy were also on hand with a montage of cherished memories of growing up with their mother.
“To you, mom is a TV legend,” Cody said in the video. “To us, she’s a legendary mom.”
Gifford’s longtime co-host Hoda Kotb also had some warm words for her.
“[Kathie Lee] totally jumped into my life in a way that I had never experienced before,” Kotb said. “She stepped into it, and I was transfixed by her when we met. I don’t know if you’ve ever had that chemistry where you connect with someone like that. I had it, and it was a feeling I’d never had before — that kind of intensity.”
“I hope she knows how much I love her,” Gifford said of Kotb. “When I love, I love with my entire being, as long as I’m here with a pulse. That’s how I love, and that hurts. That kind of love hurts, but I can’t imagine living one moment of my life without it.”
You can watch Gifford’s tearful farewell in the video above.