"I stayed year after year making a million memories with people I will never forget," Gifford, 65, said when she announced her eventual departure in December 2018. "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."
Thusday's Today show saw several celebrities saying their goodbyes, both in person and in videos, including John Cena, Ken Jeong, Kristin Chenoweth, Andy Cohen, Kourtney Kardashian and Jane Krakowski.
But Gifford's co-hosts also had a lot to say about the Hoda and Kathie Lee host. Continue on to see what the hosts of the Today show told Us Weekly they'll miss most about Griffin.
Kotb, who has co-hosted Hoda and Kathie Lee with Griffin for the past 10 years, grew especially close to her.
“She totally jumped into my life in a way that I had never experienced before,” Kotb said during Thursday's show. “She stepped into it, and I was transfixed by her. … I don’t know if you’ve ever had that chemistry where you connect with someone like that. I had it, and it was a feeling I’d never had before, that kind of intensity.”
Separately, to Us Weekly, Kotb said, “Kathie is my dearest friend. She is fearless, determined and just plain fun! Saying I will miss her is an understatement, but all of us here at Today have learned so much from being around her that her legacy will be around for many, many years.”
Al Roker, who has been a regular anchor on Today since 1996, gushed over Griffin's "true talent."
“Kathie is my dearest friend. She is fearless, determined and just plain fun! Saying I will miss her is an understatement, but all of us here at Today have learned so much from being around her that her legacy will be around for many, many years.”
Dylan Dreyer, a rotating anchor in the Orange Room on Weekend Today who frequently appears on Today on weekdays as a weather correspondent and as a fill-in for Roker, spoke about Gifford's ability to be herself, no matter the consequences.
“She is totally and completely herself. She was being herself before it was cool," Dreyer said. "She took a lot of flack for it; she put herself out there and she has this staying power. We love her. When she showed her true self, it was embraced by people.”
Carson Daly, who has been the social media correspondent for Today since 2013 — but has been with NBC in various roles — including as host of The Voice — since 2002, spoke about Gifford's ability to trail blaze.
“She blazed her own path and in this rising climate, that's so rough where someone can be put up for critique for putting herself out there and being honest," Daly said. "She paved the way for that to be possible. It's a great work environment that she'll have your back in and she'll be herself.”
As a longtime newsman for first CBS, later MSNBC and then NBC in 2003, Holt recognized Gifford's professionalism in the business, which he says is hard to come by.
“She just has the ability to talk about issues and really just push beyond what other people are saying. Kathie never puts any of it onto herself, as a lot of us do in this business," Holt said. "With her and Hoda, there's not a mean streak in their bones. It seems like today, everything is snarky here and snarky there and their show doesn't go there and it occupies a treasured space in the TV landscape.”
Guthrie joined the Today crew in 2011, just three years after Gifford, following her work for NBC News starting in 2007. She told Us Weekly that she admires Gifford's personality.
“She's always herself! Just from watching her, she never stops being herself," she said.