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/ Source: TODAY
By Gina Vivinetto

Whoopi Goldberg made a surprise return to "The View" on Thursday that shocked even her co-stars.

The actress and comedian, who has been absent from the daytime talk show for five weeks due to a serious case of pneumonia and sepsis, appeared onstage as co-host Joy Behar was wishing her well on the air.

As Goldberg, 63, approached the table, her co-panelists — Behar, Abby Hunstman, Meghan McCain, Sunny Hostin and Ana Navarro — leapt to their feet in excitement — with several of the women bursting into tears.

Audience members quickly began chanting the EGOT winner's name.

"This is my first foray out," Goldberg revealed after sitting at the table. "I'm not there yet. I know that, but the only way it's going to get better is if I begin, so this is my beginning."

Goldberg embraces her co-panelists Sunny Hostin, left, and Ana Navarro, right, in her surprise return to "The View" on Thursday.Facebook/The View

She also said fans could expect more appearances over the next week and a half. "I'm going to try to come in on Monday."

When Behar told the "Sister Act" star she looked good, Goldberg responded, "Makeup helps."

She also informed Behar that some viewers believed her when she joked on-air weeks ago that Goldberg was missing the show because she was pregnant.

"Some people said to me, 'So, um, how did you get pregnant?' And I couldn't figure out what they were talking about, and then I remembered that you had said, 'She's gone on maternity leave,'" she reminisced.

Whoopi Goldberg, third from left, and her "The View" co-panelists (L-R) Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin, Ana Navarro, Abby Hunstman and Meghan McCain.Facebook/The View

Goldberg also shared scary details of her illness, which brought her to the brink of death.

"I had double pneumonia and sepsis ... and so they had to pump a lot of stuff out of me," said the star, who revealed she'd been coughing since November, but delayed seeking treatment.

"This is a cautionary tale for all of us," she added. "You must really take care of yourself because there's little tiny stuff out there that will kill you, that you never think of."

Goldberg has been absent from "The View" for five weeks, since Feb. 5.

Last week, she shared a pre-taped video message with fans that revealed she nearly died from her illness, but was now on the mend.

"I came very, very close to leaving the Earth. Good news, I didn’t," she shared.