Earlier this month, on November 3, Jimmy Fallon cancelled the live taping of “The Tonight Show” to be with his family. Sadly, just one day after he cancelled the week’s worth of shows, his mother, Gloria, passed away.

She was 68 years old.

According to People, she’d been sick, and Jimmy went home to be with her in the hospital. After taking a week to mourn and heal with his family, the 43-year-old returned to work and, through the grief of losing a parent, tried to put a smile on people’s faces.

He did, however, pay tribute to his beloved mother in an emotional statement on Monday night’s show, and he explained one very touching moment before she died.

He began by saying:

“It’s good to be back, guys. As some of you know my mother, Gloria, passed away recently. I canceled our shows last week to be with my family and make arrangements. 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 then took his fans down memory lane to something his mother would do to him and his sister as they held hands.

Falpalalice/Instagram

With a shaking voice, he said:

“When we were little, my mom would walk us to this store, me and my sister, and she would squeeze my hand three times and say, ‘I love you,’ and I would squeeze back, ‘I love you, too.’”

He then paused to get some semblance of control over his emotions before continuing:

“And last week I was in the hospital and I grabbed her and squeezed ‘I love you.’ I just knew we were in trouble, you know?”

However, in true Jimmy Fallon fashion, he ended his tribute on a positive note, saying:

“But I feel so grateful to be able to do this every single night and I’m very appreciative of all the support from all of you that my family received over the past week.”

His emotional anecdote led people to flood his YouTube page with comments proving that— no matter what age one is— when they lose their parent, it’s always heartbreaking:

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To see his full tribute, watch the video below:

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Jimmy Fallon Chokes up Explaining the Story Behind Why He Squeezed His Dying Mother’s Hand Three Times

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