The late night TV host struggled to hold back the tears while talking about the death of his friend. Rickles died aged 90 after suffering kidney failure at his Los Angeles home earlier in the day.
In his opening monologue, a visibly emotional Kimmel warned his audience that “it’s not going to be our usual show tonight.” With Rickles’ passing, the world had lost “someone that we and I love very much,” Kimmel said.
“I know it sounds crazy to say ‘he was too young’ but he was,” he added.
Kimmel reminisced about the pair’s friendship, revealed how it took multiple attempts to entice the comedian onto his show and read out some of the notes Rickles had sent him over the years.
“There’ll never be another Don Rickles, he’s probably the greatest talk show guest of all time,” Kimmel said.
He then played out this montage of Rickles’ appearances: