Kathie Lee Gifford opens up about how she told daughter Cassidy about her father's death

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Kathie Lee Gifford Returns to Today After Frank Gifford's Death

Kathie Lee Gifford opened up on the Today show Friday about husband Frank Gifford's recent death, revealing that one of the hardest parts of the day was telling her daughter Cassidy the tragic news.

After Gifford and her 25-year-old son Cody found Frank, 84, collapsed and unresponsive at the couple's home on Aug. 9, they then had to find a way to get the news to Cassidy, who was on her way to Santa Fe, New Mexico to begin filming her role in the upcoming film Angels and Outlaws.

"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 said of breaking the news to her 22-year-old daughter, who had a stopover in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Kathie Lee, Hoda, and Frank Gifford
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Kathie Lee Gifford opens up about how she told daughter Cassidy about her father's death
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb, Frank Gifford and Kathie Lee Gifford appear on NBC News' 'Today' show (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford and Frank Gifford appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
GREENWICH, CT - MAY 20: Kathie Lee Gifford, her husband Frank Gifford and Hoda Kotb attend the Save the Children Greenwich Leadership Council's 3rd annual Celebration of Hope May 20, 2010 in Greenwich Connecticut. (Photo by Douglas Healey/Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford and Frank Gifford appear on NBC News' 'Today' show (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
GREENWICH, CT - JUNE 06: (L-R) Frank Gifford, Kathie Lee Gifford, Regis Philbin, Joy Philbin and TV Personality Hoda Kotb attend the Greenwich International Film Festival's Changemaker Gala at L'Escale Restaurant on June 6, 2015 in Greenwich, Connecticut. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/WireImage)
NBC NEWS EVENTS -- Hoda Kotb Book Launch Party -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford and Frank Gifford celebrate the launch of Hoda's book +ÆHow I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer and Kathie Lee' with a reception at the townhouse of Donny Deutsch on October 11 in New York City (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 23: Actress Kathie Lee Gifford, Frank Gifford and TV Personality Hoda Kotb attend the American Cancer Society's 2010 'Mother of the Year' award luncheon at The Pierre Hotel on February 23, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford and Frank Gifford appear on NBC News' 'Today' show (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 13: News correspondent Hoda Kotb and TV personalities Kathie Lee Gifford and Frank Gifford attend the Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering's 2nd annual Spring Ball at The Plaza Hotel on May 13, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 23: Actress Kathie Lee Gifford, Frank Gifford and TV Personality Hoda Kotb attend the American Cancer Society's 2010 'Mother of the Year' award luncheon at The Pierre Hotel on February 23, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)
Kathie Lee Gifford, left, and Hoda Kotb, co-hosts of the fourth hour of the NBC "Today" television program, watch a monitor in the studio during a segment of the show on Gifford's first day, in New York Monday April 7, 2008. Long married to former NFL star and sports announcer Frank Gifford, Kathie Lee Gifford left Regis Philbin and their "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee" television show in 2000. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Hoda Kotb, left, with Kathie Lee Gifford, her new co-host for the fourth hour of the NBC "Today" television program, holds a Regis Philbin mask during a segment of the show on Gifford's first day on the program in New York's Rockefeller Plaza, Monday, April 7, 2008. Long married to former NFL star and sports announcer Frank Gifford, Kathie Lee Gifford left Regis Philbin and their "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee" television show in 2000. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
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WATCH: Frank Gifford's Daughter Cassidy Shares Moving Tribute to Her Late Father

"I wanna thank my friend Gail over at Delta Air Lines," Gifford continued. "She said to us, 'We will find the nicest person we have working in St. Paul' -- and there are a lot of nice people in St. Paul -- 'and we will have her meet the plane.'"

An airline employee was able to meet Cassidy when she landed at the St. Paul airport, Gifford said, and had her call home immediately, a relief to her grieving mother.

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

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Frank Gifford passes away at 84
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Kathie Lee Gifford opens up about how she told daughter Cassidy about her father's death
FILE - In this Sept. 9, 1958 file photo, New York Giants halfback Frank Gifford participates in a workout in New York. In a statement released by NBC News on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015, his family said Gifford died suddenly at his Connecticut home of natural causes that morning. (AP Photo/John Rooney, File)
American professional football player Frank Gifford, running back for the New York Giants, stands outdoors dressed in his uniform with one hand on his hip and holds his helmet, 1950s or 1960s. (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 28: Runningback Frank Gifford #16, of the New York Giants, cuts back into a break in the line during the NFL Championship Game on December 28, 1958 against the Baltimore Colts at Yankee Stadium in New York City, New York. Steve Myhra of the Colts tied the score with a 20-yard field goal with 7 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Alan Ameche scored for the Colts in overtime as they defeated the Giants, 23-17, in front of 64,185 fans. This was the first overtime game in NFL history. (Photo by Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 29: (L to R) Runningback Alex Webster, quarterback Charlie Conerly, runningback Mel Triplett and runningback Frank Gifford, of the New York Giants, pose together in the clubhouse prior to the NFL Championship Game on December 29, 1956 at Yankee Stadium in New York, New York. (Photo by: Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
American professional football players Frank Gifford #16 (left) and Alex Webster #29 of the New York Giants at a practice game or training camp, late 1950s. (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 30: (L to R) Runningback Frank Gifford #16, of the New York Giants, gets a hug from quarterback Charlie Conerly #42 in the clubhouse after the NFL Championship Game on December 30, 1956 against the Chicago Bears at Yankee Stadium in New York, New York. One of the two touchdown passes Conerly threw was to Gifford. The Giants beat the Bears, 47-7. (Photo by: Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 29, 1959: Offensive lineman Jack Stroud #66 of the New York Giants leads the blocking for runningback Frank Gifford #16 (obscured behind Stroud) on a running play during a game on November 29, 1959 against the Washington Redskins at Yankee Stadium in New York, New York. The Giants quarterback is Charlie Conerly #42. 591129-126 (Photo by: Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 09: 1956 NFL Pro Bowl Football Game - East vs. West at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. East Team coached by Washington Redskins Joe Kuharich. West Team coach is Los Angeles Rams Sid Gillman. Pictured is East Team player, a young Frank Gifford of the New York Giants, #16, Halfback. NFL's regular season MVP in 1956. Broadcaster, commentator for NFL games on CBS Television and later ABC's Monday Night Football with Howard Cosell and Don Meredith. Married to Kathie Lee Gifford. (Photo by Al Paloczy/The Enthusiast Network/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - CIRCA 1960: Frank Gifford #16 of the New York Giants runs on to the field during an NFL football game at Yankee Stadium circa 1960 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Gifford played for the Giants from 1952-64. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1962-64: Del Shofner #85 and Frank Gifford #16 of the New York Giants sit on the bench during a game, circa 1962-64. (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)
FILE - In this April 2, 1962 file photo, New York Giants halfback Frank Gifford cocks his passing arm as he stands in front of photo mural of the Polo Grounds at the offices of the New York Giants in New York’s Coliseum. In a statement released by NBC News on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015, his family said Gifford died suddenly at his Connecticut home of natural causes that morning. (AP Photo, File)
JAN 30 1970, FEB 1 1970; Mc Collum-Law Hosts a Star; The McCollum-Law Corp., Denver regional distributor for Westinghouse Corp., was host Friday at the Hilton Hotel to Frank Gifford, all-time football great. Gifford, all America back from USC in 1951, told his audience of sports, business, civic and political leaders that 'times have changed.' He recalled he was No. 1 draft choice in the National Football League in 1951 and 'got $3,800 and a motor bike.' He said O.J. Simpson, last year's No. 1 draft choice 'got contracts worth about $750,000 and a big car.' Gifford, after a decade with the New York Giants, is a CBS-TV sportscaster and Westinghouse TV spokesman. From left, W.S.Law, Gifford and Robert McCollum.; Gifford, Frank 5p; W.s.'Bing' Law frank Gifford Robert S. McCollum; (Photo By Bill Peters/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 27: ABC analyst and Hall of Famer Frank Gifford looks on before Super Bowl XXV with the New York Giants against the Buffalo Bills at Tampa, Florida on January 27, 1991 in Pasadena, California. The Cowboys won 20-19. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL - 10/11/71 ABC sportscasters Howard Cosell, Don Meredith and Frank Gifford at the N.Y. Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys game, won by the Cowboys 20-13. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) HOWARD COSELL, DON MEREDITH, FRANK GIFFORD
Wellington Mara, left, owner of the New York Giants, smiles alongside his Pro Football Hall of Fame bronze bust, joined by his presenter, former New York Giants player Frank Gifford, after being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Saturday, July 26, 1997, in Canton, Ohio. (AP Photo/Phil Long)
Former New York Giants Frank Gifford, TV sportscaster in 1985. No other information given. (AP Photo)
Photo by: Peter Kramer/STAR MAX/IPx 5/16/00 Frank Gifford and Kathie Lee Gifford at a tribute to Angela Lansbury (NYC)
Frank Gifford arrives for a private luncheon rally for the New York Giants NFL football team on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012, in New York. Angry Giants fans protested against being excluded from the major pre-Super Bowl rally and celebration hosted by Giants owner Steve Tisch and A listers. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
A University of Southern California 1952 card of football star Frank Gifford, the New York Giants’ No. 1 draft pick, is shown Jan. 8, 2014, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The cards are part of a pop-up exhibition at the Met celebrating football’s history through the ages with vintage trading cards. The 150 cards, including a series from 1894, are part of approximately 600 cards from the museum’s vast collection of sport trade cards donated to the Met by the late hobby pioneer Jefferson Burdick. The exhibit runs Jan. 24 through Feb. 10. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 03: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Hall of Famer Frank Gifford is introduced during a halftime ceremony of a game between the New York Giants and the Indianapolis Colts on November 3, 2014 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Colts defeated the Giants 40-24. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL - 11/3/14 - Michael Strahan was celebrated at Met Life Stadium as he received his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring. The 2014 inductee was joined by fellow Giants Hall of Famers Frank Gifford, Harry Carson and Lawrence Taylor in a ceremony at halftime of the Giants game against the Indianapolis Colts. (Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images) FRANK GIFFORD, MICHAEL STRAHAN
NBC NEWS EVENTS -- Hoda Kotb Book Launch Party -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford and Frank Gifford celebrate the launch of Hoda's book +ÆHow I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer and Kathie Lee' with a reception at the townhouse of Donny Deutsch on October 11 in New York City (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Frank Gifford and Regis Philbin appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 03: Former New York Giants player Frank Gifford looks on at halftime as he gets inducted in the New York Giants ring of fame in a game against the Chicago Bears on October 3, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.The Giants defeated the Bears 17 to 3. (Photo by Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images)
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Gifford also told co-host Hoda Kotb and former Live With Regis and Kathie Lee colleague Regis Philbin that her kids surprised her on her first day back to work by waking up early to accompany their mom to the Today show studios in New York City.

Just last month, Cassidy spoke to ET about her budding acting resume and forging a career path separate from her famous parents.

"It's important for me to have my career completely compartmentalized and separated from my mom's," the actress said at the time. "It's hard because 90 percent of the time there's a preconceived notion about me going in for an audition, or anything, whatever it is. But at the end of the day, she's a mom and she wants to share in the experiences and be a part of it."

More from ET Online:
Frank Gifford, NFL Hall of Famer and Broadcaster, Dies at 84
Kathie Lee Gifford's Daughter Is All Grown Up & Forging Her Own Path
Kathie Lee Gifford Returns to the 'Today' Show and Pays Touching Tribute to Frank Gifford


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