By Amanda Michelle Steiner
August 17, 2015 at 04:41 PM EDT
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Kathie Lee Gifford has returned to the Today show desk after a brief absence following the death of her husband, Frank. 

Gifford died of natural causes at the age of 84 on Aug. 9. Today co-host Hoda Kotb relayed to viewers last week that Gifford’s life was a “triumph,” according to Kathie Lee, and that his death was “not a tragedy”: “Frank lived to be almost 85. [Kathie Lee] said he lived an incredible life, has an incredible family and had an incredible legacy.” 

On Monday, Kathie Lee delivered an emotional tribute to viewers upon her return to her co-hosting duties. “He would want you to know that he died in complete peace. He knew every sin he had committed was forgiven.

“I’m grateful that the Lord took him that way because the only thing Gifford had ever been afraid of in his entire life was being a burden to those he loved,” she continued, going on to praise Gifford’s capacity for empathy and gratitude, and advising her audience to do as he would.

“Stop every fireman you see and thank them. He did it all the time,” said Kathie Lee. “He would stop crossing guards to roll down the window and say, ‘Thank you for keeping the children safe.’ He was so grateful. He knew what hard work was.

“We will miss him so much.” 

Watch Kathie Lee’s tribute to her late husband below, as well as a performance from 5-year-old Heavenly Joy, who brought the Today co-host to tears with her rendition of “This Little Light of Mine.”

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