When he returned to his CNN anchor desk on Tuesday following the accidental drowning of his older sister, L'Tanya "Leisa" Lemon Grimes, Don Lemon fought back tears and expressed gratitude for the outpouring he's received.

"Many of you noticed that I have not been here, my older sister died unexpectedly last week, and I'm back sitting with you tonight because this is exactly where she would have wanted me to be…" he said as he opened the segment. He later added, "I want all of you to know that your prayers and your words of encouragement have really meant the world to me and my family over the last few days…" 

Lemon shared that his sister's death served as a reminder that tragedies can bring out the best in people – particularly the immense support he has received from people he typically disagrees with.

"I think it's important for all Americans to know that something like this, when it happens, it tends to bring out the best in people, even some of my competitors and people I have raging arguments with on television, you think we hate each other but we don't," he said. Lemon went on to thank a number of people who have been supportive. 

Lemon ended his speech recognizing his sister Leisa who he said "was watching from heaven."