Regis Philbin, the legendary television host, passed away on Friday evening of natural causes. He was 88 years old.
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His family confirmed in a statement on Saturday:
“We are deeply saddened to share that our beloved Regis Philbin passed away last night of natural causes, one month shy of his 89th birthday.”
Their message continued:
“His family and friends are forever grateful for the time we got to spend with him – for his warmth, his legendary sense of humor, and his singular ability to make every day into something worth talking about. We thank his fans and admirers for their incredible support over his 60-year career and ask for privacy as we mourn his loss.”
Regis began hosting Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee in 1988 alongside Kathie Lee Gifford, who later departed the show 15 years later. Kelly Ripa became his co-host and the franchise was rebranded to Live! with Regis and Kelly until he stepped back in 2011 after 23 years on the show. Michael Strahan stepped into the role until 2017, when Ryan Seacrest replaced him.
Ripa shared her a tribute to her longtime co-host via Instagram on Saturday:
In addition to Live!, Philbin also served as the first host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? from 1999 until 2002. Throughout his legendary career, he also hosted Million Dollar Password, the first season of America’s Got Talent, and was a recurring co-host on Rachael Ray.
Some of the New York native’s accolades include Daytime Emmy Awards for Live! in 2001 and 2011, as well as for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. He was also the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 at the Daytime Emmy Awards, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in 2003.
Regis had various health issues, most recently undergoing a triple bypass surgery due to plaque in his arteries in 2007. In December 2009, he had his hip replaced, and the following year had surgery to remove a blood clot from his calf.
Philbin was married twice and is survived by his wife of 50 years, Joy Philbin, and their daughters J.J. Philbin and Joanna Philbin. He is also survived by a daughter Amy Philbin, whom he shared with first wife Catherine Faylen. He was preceded in death by his son Daniel Philbin, who died in 2014.
We’re sending our thoughts and condolences to the Philbin family, his friends, and loved ones during this difficult time.
[Image via Ivan Nikolov/WENN.]