Cassidy Gifford Was On Plane When Dad Frank Gifford Died, Kathie Lee Gifford Dreaded Breaking News to Her

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Cassidy Gifford had said goodbye to her mom and dad and headed off to New Mexico to begin shooting her next film--Angels and Outlaws, with co-star Chad Michael Murray--when her dad Frank Gifford passed away. Mom Kathie Lee Gifford spoke this week on The Today Show about how she had to wait for Cassidy to arrive in her connection city before she could tell her the sad news.

"The hardest part of the day—other than finding Frank—was that we couldn't get in touch with Cass because she was in the air," Kathie Lee Gifford said.

An airline employee managed to find Cassidy Gifford during her layover in Minnesota and told her to call home.

"The worst thing you want to do is ever get news like that from a monitor while you're walking wherever you are," Kathie Lee added. "We got her home and we pulled the wagons together."

Cassidy Gifford must have known something was seriously wrong when she received that message, however.

Kathie Lee Gifford took the week following Frank's death off. When she got ready to return to hosting the fourth hour of Today--alongside her close friend Hoda Kotb--she was in for a very sweet surprise.

When she got up to get ready to leave for Studio 1A, she found both Cody and Cassidy Gifford already up and sitting in the kitchen.

"They were sitting in the kitchen waiting for me," Kathie Lee said. "I said, 'What are you guys doing up?' They said, 'We're going to go in with you, Mom.'"

"Cody was standing, and he was just watching. He didn't want to be on," Hoda Kotb said. "He just had his arms folded, watching his mom to make sure she was OK."

"It was beautiful," Hoda added. "It was really beautiful."

Regis Philbin, who was Kathie Lee Gifford's co-host for years, also speaks very highly of both Cody and Cassidy Gifford.

"They're great kids," he said.

Philbin has known the Gifford kids for years.

Kathie Lee Gifford is certainly still grieving the sudden passing of Frank Gifford, but must find some comfort in the children the two shared. Cody and Cassidy Gifford will no doubt be huge blessings to their mom in the days and weeks to come.

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.