At the American Cancer Society's Mother of the Year luncheon, Kathie Lee Gifford introduced her friend and co-host Hoda Kotb, who was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago.
"I'm here today to introduce my amazing friend and co-host, but I don't even think of her that way," Kathie Lee's speech began. "Hoda Kotb is my Egyptian sun goddess. The only thing bigger than her smile is her heart."
Kathie Lee went on to say that Hoda is "the most contagious human being on the planet."
"She will make you happy, she will make you start singing really crappy songs…that's what she does," the 64-year-old explained. "She can't help it she just shows up and the room changes. When I signed to come back to television almost 10 years ago I didn't want to, I thought I'd done the best 15 years of television I'd ever done with a certain little guy named Regis Philbin and I didn't wanna come back."
Kathie Lee said she only wanted to do a year of television, but working with Hoda changed her mind. "I fell absolutely, madly in love with this life force called Hoda," she said. "Who just made me a better person."
The "Today" show host did say she has one regret when it comes to her friendship with Hoda — not meeting her sooner. "So that I could've been her friend when she got that diagnosis that she had cancer. Her friend Jen is here today and she was there for her. I'm sure that Joel [Schiffman] her partner feels the same way. We didn't get to share that with her. I would've been by her bedside. I would've kept her baby for her…although that baby eats an awful lot," she said.
Kathie Lee closed out her touching speech with one more gush about her love for the 53-year-old. "It is my great honor and privileged to give this to one of my dearest, dearest friends who is one of the finest human beings I've ever met in my life. I adore you Hoda…Hoda Kotb."