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Kathie Lee Gifford Bids Tearful Goodbye to the 'Today' Show

12-11-2018
Kathie Lee Gifford
Kathie Lee Gifford

Television icon Kathie Lee Gifford is leaving NBC's Today Show after more than a decade on air. 

NBC News chief Noah Oppenheim announced the news Tuesday morning in a staff memo obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. 

"Kathie Lee is generously staying with us through the show's next anniversary, April 7, 2019. We will have much more to share before then about our plans for that hour, which will, of course, continue to include Hoda," said Oppenheim.

Gifford released her own statement saying how much she loves the people she works with, especially her co-host Hoda Kotb. 

"In 2008, I joined the Today show family intending to spend one year," Gifford said. "But something unexpected happened along the way: I fell in love with a beautiful, talented, extraordinary Egyptian goddess named Hoda, and an amazing group of individuals who work tirelessly and joyfully at their jobs, many of them starting at midnight, creating an unprecedented four hours of live television."

"I stayed year after year making a million memories with people I will never forget," she continued. "I leave Today with a grateful heart but I'm truly excited for this new creative season in my life. Many thanks to all the wonderful people who made the years fly by."

Gifford and Kotb also announced the news on Tuesday morning's show. 

"The minute you stepped into my life with both feet, everything changed," Kotb said while she fought back tears. "You chose me and that's how it started... Everything good that's happened in my life has happened since you came."

Gifford said she thanks God for their friendship. 

"I'm grateful to God for you. Grateful to God for you. God's used you in my life every bit as much as he's used me in yours. That's the way it goes," she said. 

The veteran television host has been outspoken about her Christian faith. In fact, she says it's more than a religion, but a dedicated relationship with Jesus. 

"He's a personal God. He's not this entity throwing thunderbolts at us. He wants to be invited into our lives," Gifford said during an interview with The Billy Hallowell Podcast. "He wants to be welcomed into our hearts. He will transform us and love us beyond our wildest dreams."

Gifford has written several faith-based books, including a children's book called "The Gift That I Can Give" and her most recent book about Israel called "The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi."

She's also occasionally performed worship songs on the Today show. Last year she sang her holiday hit called "Jesus is His Name."

While some wonder why Gifford is so bold in her faith, she says it's because she's found the cure to life's problems. 

"I feel like I have the cure for the malignancy of the soul and he has a name — and it's Jesus and I have to share when I'm given a chance," she told Hallowell. "Because I don't want people to not know the freedom they can have in Him." 

When asked if she'll ever remarry following the sudden death of her husband several years ago, Gifford stressed the importance of finding someone who loves Jesus as she does. 

"I said, 'My faith isn't something I do on Sunday mornings for an hour. My faith is me, and I'm not going to share my life with somebody or even another hour of my life on a date with you if you don't share the same passion for your faith as I do.'" she told Access Live.

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