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Jimmy Fallon's emotional Tonight Show return after the loss of his mother Gloria

Jimmy Fallon has returned to The Tonight Show after taking a week off to mourn the passing of his "biggest fan," his mother Gloria.

In an emotional dedication to her, Fallon opened his show telling the audience: "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."

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Jimmy Fallon's emotional tribute to his mum

After taking a week off tapings while his mother was ill, Jimmy Fallon returned with an emotional tribute to her.

Mrs Fallon died "peacefully" in New York City's NYU Langone Medical Center on Saturday November 4 from and undisclosed illness. She was 68 years old.

Her son's voice broke up when told how he realised she was dying.

"When we were little, my mom 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' and last week I was in the hospital and I grabbed her hand and squeezed 'I love you'," he said shaking his head. "And I just knew we were in trouble."

But in Fallon style, he got on with the show.

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"I feel so grateful to be able to do this every single night and I'm very appreciate for all the support from all of you that my family has received over the past week. We're going to continue to work really hard to bring light and laughter into the world. Thank you for watching, thank you for helping me and my family recover from this loss, Mom I will never stop trying to make you laugh. I love you."

Questlove, the frontman for The Tonight Show's band The Roots, wanted Fallon to know he has his back.

"We're in show business. And the show must go on," Questlove told USA TODAY at Saturday's Governors Awards. "Where he leads, we'll follow."

Questlove said he had been in frequent contact with Fallon, who was at his mother's side when she died in hospital.

"This is beyond, 'My heart and prayers are with him.' We're family now, he's my brother. So it's a loss," said Questlove. "She was everyone's mom on that set."

Fallon issued a statement at the time, saying: "Today I lost my biggest fan."

"Jimmy is a strong person," Questlove added. "To mourn and to remember is important."

Questlove said Fallon was there for him when his father, musician Lee Andrews died in 2016.

"(Fallon) was my rock. We're there for each other."

Gloria Fallon is survived by husband James W. Fallon, daughter Gloria, son Jimmy and four grandchildren.

Fallon's guests on Monday night's show (US time) were Jeff Daniels and Mary J. Blige.

Fallon's show dropped from first place in the ratings earlier this year; ceding ground to Stephen Colbert's The Late Show, which claimed the late night TV crown.

USA Today, with Aja Styles