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Jimmy Fallon holds back tears during emotional tribute to his mother

NEW YORK — Jimmy Fallon returned to “The Tonight Show” Monday night with a heavy heart following the death of his mother last week.

“As some of you know, my mother, Gloria, passed away recently,” a very emotional Fallon said at the top of his broadcast on Monday. “She was the best audience. She was the one I was always trying to make laugh. She was such a fan of the show, and everything I did.”

Fallon’s mother died at the age of 68 on Nov. 4. This led to the “Tonight Show” canceling all of last week’s scheduled shows and replacing them with reruns.

Fallon told a story Monday night about how his mother would hold his hand as a kid, and would squeeze three times and tell him that she loved him.

“Last week, I was in the hospital and I grabbed her hand and squeezed, ‘I love you,’” Fallon said with tears in his eyes.

Fallon added that he’s grateful that he can do “The Tonight Show” every night and thanked everyone for the support he received over the last week.

“We are going to continue to work really hard to bring some light and some laughter into the world,” Fallon said to the audience. “Thank you for watching. Thank you for helping me and my family recover from this loss.”

Fallon ended by saying, “Mom, I will never stop trying to make you laugh.”

Immediately following the death of his mother, NBC put out a statement extending its “deepest condolences to Jimmy and all his family at this time of enormous loss.”

“Our hearts go out to Jimmy and everyone else whose lives were so touched by Gloria Fallon’s love, kindness and support,” the network added last week.