“When I got the news I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach, honestly,” are the words CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King used to describe the moment she found out legendary actress Cicely Tyson had passed on Jan. 28.
The news of the 96-year-old’s passing is still reverberating throughout the industry and the lives of her legions of fans. In one of her last interviews with King, which aired on Jan. 26, two days before she died, the icon was promoting her first book, a memoir, “Just As I Am.” Even then she was still full of life and her gaze set upon the future.
“She was talking about future projects, she was sitting there wearing Manolo Blahniks pumps. She was sitting there and she was engaged, and she was playful, and she was reflective. There was nothing about her that said to me ‘Oh, this could be the last interview,'” explains King to Access host Billy Bush about her sit-down with Tyson.
King further explained, “Even when, Billy, I asked questions like, ‘When the time comes how would you like to be remembered, how do you think about death, are you reflective, do you get lonely?’ even when I was asking those questions I wasn’t asking because I thought the end was near, I was just asking because I was curious and you’re 96. On one hand it’s very sad to get the news, on the other may we all get to live to 96, and get to live with the grace of Cicely Tyson. She was essential to so many of us on so many levels.”
King is not alone in her public mourning of the producer and civil rights activist. Close friends Oprah and Tyler Perry both shared long-lasting friendships with Tyson.
Perry shared a photo of himself and Tyson embracing along with a message that reads in part, “She was the grandmother I never had and the wisdom tree that I could always sit under to fill my cup. My heart breaks in one beat, while celebrating her life in the next. To think that she lived for 96 years and I got to be a part of the last 16 brings me great joy. She called me son. Well, today your son grieves your loss and will miss our long talks, your laughter from your belly, and your very presence.”