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NEW YORK (AP) — Whoopi Goldberg received a standing ovation from the audience and hugs from her castmates as she returned to “The View.”

Goldberg surprised everyone as she appeared on the ABC program Thursday, less than a week after she said in a video that she nearly died of pneumonia.

The audience chanted “Whoopi!” and castmates Joy Behar, Abby Hunstman, Meghan McCain, Sunny Hostin and Ana Navarro leaped out of their seats.

Goldberg, who says she’s much improved but still has a cough after battling double pneumonia and sepsis,  thanked everyone for their support and says she plans to gradually return to the show as she recovers.

“I’m not there yet, but the only way it’s going to get better is if I begin, so this is my beginning,” she told the audience.

Kim Porter, who Goldberg references on The View as Diddy’s “wife” also had double pneumonia, which killed her last year at the age of 47.

The 63-year-old had been absent since Feb. 6. In a video last Friday, she said “I came very, very close to leaving the Earth.”

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