- Associated Press - Monday, February 20, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - With a nod of tribute to his ailing mother, Stephen Colbert returned to the air Monday.

Colbert was back hosting “The Colbert Report,” which last week mysteriously canceled the tapings of two episodes. Colbert’s 91-year-old mother, Lorna Colbert, is ill. And while the comedian didn’t address her by name, he offered a “confidential” message to “a lovely lady.”

Said Colbert: “Evidently, having 11 children makes you tough as nails.”

Colbert is the youngest of 11 children. His father, James Colbert, and two of his brothers were killed in an airplane crash in 1974.

He also comically addressed the rumors stoked by the brief absence of what he called “the hub around which the republic turns.”

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