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Jimmy Fallon held back tears as he introduced Monday night’s Tonight Show, the first episode he filmed following the death of his mother, Gloria.

“She was the best audience, she was the one I was always trying to make laugh and she was such a fan of the show and everything I did,” he said.

Fallon continued with an anecdote, his voice breaking: “When we were little, my mum would walk us to the store — me and my sister — and we would hold hands. And she would squeeze my hand three times and say, ‘I love you,’ and I would squeeze back, ‘I love you too,'” he said. “Last week I was in the hospital, at her side, and I grabbed her hand and I squeezed ‘I love you,’ and I just knew we were in trouble.”

The chat show host said he was greatly appreciative of the support he and his family received during such a difficult time. “We are going to continue to work hard to bring life and laughter into the world,” he said, adding, as he clenched his fist three times: “Mom, I will never stop trying to make you laugh. I love you.”

Gloria Fallon died on Nov. 4, surrounded by family, including Jimmy Fallon, at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. Her death came after Fallon cancelled a Nov. 3 taping of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon due to a “private Fallon family matter.”

In May he joked over Twitter about his mother claiming she didn’t talk to him enough during their third phone conversation that day:

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