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Ellen pays tribute to longtime fan who died of breast cancer

Lisa Jarmon's infectious enthusiasm made her a beloved recurring guest after Ellen first noticed her in the crowd in 2011.
/ Source: TODAY

Lisa Jarmon made an immediate impact on Ellen DeGeneres with her infectious enthusiasm and brilliant smile when DeGeneres first spotted her in the crowd at her show nearly eight years ago.

The single, working mom quickly became a beloved presence on the show to where she traded a seat in the audience for one on the stage as a guest, which made her death at 56 on Feb. 21 from breast cancer heart-breaking for DeGeneres and her fans.

DeGeneres paid an emotional tribute to Jarmon on Wednesday with a segment on the show celebrating her life and their friendship.

The two first met on March 3, 2011, when the native of Manvel, Texas, made an impression on DeGeneres from the audience with her bright orange outfit and her contagious enthusiasm. A week later, she joined DeGeneres on stage.

"Ellen brought me on the stage," Jarmon later said on the show. "I sat where stars sit! My butt. And ever since I sat in that seat, my whole life’s changed."

"We saw that energy and I loved it so much, I said, 'I want to meet her,''' DeGeneres said on the show.

Her loss was also mourned by Ellen fans who warmed to Jarmon's kind spirit.

Over the years, DeGeneres surprised Jarmon with a new car, a host of items around the holidays, and even a brand-new house in 2012.

In October, DeGeneres announced on the show that Jarmon had been diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer as Jarmon sat beside her.

"I love this woman,'' DeGeneres said. "She's our family."

She also created an honorary seat for Jarmon in the crowd with a nameplate on the first chair that Jarmon sat on during her initial appearance in 2011.

On Wednesday, DeGeneres welcomed other guests who had gotten to know Lisa well over the years. She also announced the creation of the Lisa Jarmon fund, which began with a $100,000 donation from Shutterfly.

She said the fund will serve "other deserving people who have the same qualities that Lisa (had). And they may need a little something, and so we’re going to honor them in her name."