Aug. 16 should’ve been a joyous occasion in the Gifford household.
The shared birthday of Today Show co-host Kathie Lee Gifford and her cherished sports-icon husband, Frank Gifford, was to have been marked with a party at their Greenwich, Conn., home.
Kathie Lee and Frank celebrating their birthday on Today in 2013.
“It’s going to be my husband’s 85th,” Kathie Lee gushed to Closer last month, as she was set to turn 62. “We’re going to have a quiet little crab feast with friends and close family.”
Instead, the Gifford family and their friends have been marking a far more somber occasion: mourning the death of Frank from natural causes at his home on Aug. 9. Kathie Lee discovered him unresponsive on that Sunday morning and immediately called 911, but the legendary athlete and broadcaster had passed away peacefully in his sleep.
Kathie Lee, Frank and their kids, Cassidy and Cody, in 2012.
“Kathie Lee takes comfort in the fact that he didn’t suffer, that he wasn’t bedridden in the last years of his life, and that she was the one to find him,” a friend says.
Moving on without her partner of nearly 30 years won’t be easy, but Kathie Lee is putting on a brave face. Today co-host and close friend Hoda Kotb revealed to viewers what Kathie Lee said the day after Frank’s death: “This is not a tragedy. He lived an incredible life, has an incredible family and an incredible legacy. His life is a triumph.”
To read the full story on Kathie Lee and Frank, pick up the new issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now!