After sitting out of “CNN Tonight” for a week following his sister’s death, Don Lemon made a tearful return to the anchor’s seat.
“I’m sitting here with you tonight because this is exactly where she would have wanted me to be,” he says on-air Tuesday, Feb. 8.
L’Tanya “Leisa” Lemon Grimes was the anchor’s older sister who died in Louisiana last week of an accidental drowning Wednesday, Jan. 31.
“I want all of you to know that your prayers and your words of encouragement have really meant the world to me and my family over the last few days,” Lemon says. “So many of you have reached out to me that I can’t respond to all of them, so I just want to respond now and please pass this on.”
Lemon went on to thank the folks who have reached out to him with condolences, like Tamron Hall, talk show host Wendy Williams and Sen. Cory Booker. He also thanked competitors like Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly along with the in-studio staff.
Then, getting choked up, he addressed CNN president Jeff Zucker.
“You don’t know how much this meant to me Jeff Zucker, but I will never forget that you wouldn’t leave my office and you wouldn’t go home until I got in the car, on the plane. So, I want to thank you and Karen and my little brother — my bro — Andrew.
“To Tim, the love of my life, who got on a plane without asking and then sat in my mom’s driveway for two hours. I love you, waiting for us to come home.”
Finally, he thanked his family including his mother, nieces, nephews and his late sister “whose watching from heaven.”