“Today” show co-host Kathie Lee Gifford has co-written a religious song about her late husband, sportscaster Frank Gifford, and plans to donate all proceeds to North Carolina-based Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian relief agency headed by Franklin Graham.
Graham wrote about it and thanked Gifford in a Friday Facebook post. On Thursday, she performed the song, “He Saw Jesus,” on “Today,” NBC’s morning show.
“I hope it brings hope to people,” Gifford said on the show. “So many people loved Frank. So many people still do. I wanted to honor his memory with it, but I also wanted it to do some good in the world.”
Frank Gifford, who died in 2015, was a star halfback and flanker for the New York Giants in the 1950s and early ’60s. He became even more famous, starting in the 1970s, as a sportscaster on ABC. For 27 years, he was a play-by-play announcer and commentator for the network’s “Monday Night Football.”
His wife spoke on “Today” about the day Gifford died, and about why she titled her song “He Saw Jesus.”
“I found my husband on the floor one beautiful Sunday morning,” she told co-anchor Hoda Kotb. “I said this was the look on his face – and I said, ‘He saw Jesus, and Jesus took his breath away.’ ”
Kathie Lee Gifford has written in recent years about her family’s longtime friendship with Charlotte-born evangelist Billy Graham, Franklin’s father. She has credited the elder Graham with bringing her and other family members to Christ. And in 2013, at Billy Graham’s 95th birthday party at Asheville’s Grove Park Inn, she was among the singers who led the crowd in “Happy Birthday.”
Billy Graham is now 98, retired and living in his mountaintop home in Montreat. Franklin Graham leads the Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
The younger Graham is also president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse, which is often the first relief agency on the ground with aid when a natural disaster hits and regularly commits teams of workers – including Graham himself in some cases – to help.
In recent months, the group has gone to Texas after Hurricane Harvey and to Florida after Hurricane Irma. It is now in Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from Hurricane Maria.
Kathie Lee Gifford’s song, which was co-written by country musician Brett James – is available on iTunes.
In his Facebook post, Franklin Graham offered “a big thank you” to his friend Gifford for deciding to donate proceeds from the song to Samaritan’s Purse. “She has a great heart for helping people.”