Legendary US comedian Don Rickles, who was known for his biting wit that spared no one, died on Thursday from kidney failure at his Los Angeles home, his publicist said.
Elsewhere in late-night, "The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert opened his show by paying tribute to the legend. In fact, he struggled to hold back the tears and got very emotional. "And I'll tell you right up front that I'm going to cry - probably a lot, which is embarrassing".
Like most comedians who knew Rickles, Kimmel appreciated his sense of humor and knew what an honor it was to be on the receiving end of one of his hilarious insults.
Kimmel broke down saying, "I know it sounds insane to say he was "too young" but he was".
Rickles guested on Kimmel's show 18 times since it went on the air in 2003, and over that period, Kimmel and Rickles formed a meaningful relationship with each other, both on and off set.
He ended his tribute by reading some of the burn-filled notes Rickles sent him, then played a montage of the late comedian's appearances on "Jimmy Kimmel Live". "When he'd come to my house, he'd yell about the stairs, as if I put them there specifically to inconvenience him".
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Kimmel said Rickles "made fun of everybody".
"Don came to visit 17 more times after that".
"Dear Jimmy, thanks so much for the lovely frame of you and I..." We became friends over the years and I had the honor of being roasted by him a few times - sometimes when I didn't expect it.
"He would always ask about my parents, my kids", Kimmel continued. "I worshiped the guy too".
His death was confirmed by his spokesman, Paul Shefrin, who said Rickles is survived by his wife of 52 years, Barbara, as well as their daughter, Mindy Mann, and two grandchildren. "I've told this story before, but it meant so much to me", he said. He was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2000, and in 2008, he won an Emmy for the TV documentary Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project.
"This is not going to be our usual show tonight", Kimmel said at the top of his monologue. "My thoughts are with his family today".