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Jimmy Kimmel Pays Tearful Tribute to His Friend Don Rickles

Kimmel used his monologue to eulogize the late great comic

Liam Mathews

Comedy legend Don Rickles died Thursday at age 90, which led to an outpouring of grief and remembrances from the people he touched.

One of those people was late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, who used the opening monologue of his Thursday show to eulogize the zinger-flinging "Mr. Warmth," whose prickly persona juxtaposed with his kind, thoughtful and generous heart.

Kimmel had to hold back tears several times throughout the monologue as he reminisced on how he and Rickles became friends after Rickles appeared on his show in 2006.

"We lost someone that we and I love very much today, and I'm sorry if you're hearing this for the first time now, but Don Rickles passed away this morning. He was 90 years old. And I know it sounds crazy to say he was too young, but he was because he was youthful and funny and sharp and generous and I was fortunate enough to not only have Don on this show as my guest but also to become close to him and his wife Barbara, which was a lot of fun for me," Kimmel said.

Rickles told a lot of stories about his drinking buddy Frank Sinatra, and Kimmel related one of his favorites and said that he told Rickles that if he met Frank Sinatra, he would ask him Don Rickles stories.

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And he read some thank you notes from Rickles that summed up the comic's perfect blend of sweet and sour: "Dear Jimmy, thanks for the beautiful frame of you and I. Who needs Sinatra? Your picture of us together is much more important. Please don't show this to anyone, because it could cause harm to me and my family."

He closed with a video compilation of Rickles' hilarious appearances.