Celebrities honor TV 'legend' Regis Philbin, who died of natural causes: 'The ultimate class act'

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Kelly Ripa, Kathie Lee Gifford and other celebrities are remembering the late television legend Regis Philbin, “the ultimate class act” and “true gentleman.”

On Saturday, the family confirmed the 88-year-old’s death to People. "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," read the statement. "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.”

In 1988, Philbin started hosting Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee alongside Gifford, and in 2001, he teamed up with Ripa for Live! with Regis and Kelly. Philbin left the franchise in 2011, later hosting Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and America’s Got Talent. His Twitter account, with 34.2,000 followers, reads “17,000 hours on TV and counting, just try and stop me!”

Ripa and Ryan Seacrest of Live with Kelly and Ryan posted a joint statement on Saturday. “We are beyond saddened to learn about the loss of Regis Philbin,” read their Instagram note. “He was the ultimate class act, bringing his laughter and joy into our homes everyday on Live for more than 23 years. We were beyond lucky to have him as a mentor in our careers and aspire everyday to fill his shoes on the show. We send our deepest love and condolences to his family and hope they can find some comfort in knowing he left the world a better place.”

While Gifford wrote under an Instagram photo of the two, “There are no words to fully express the love I have for my precious friend, Regis. I simply adored him and every day with him was a gift. We spent 15 years together bantering and bickering and laughing ourselves silly—a tradition and a friendship we shared up to this very day. I smile knowing somewhere in Heaven, at this very moment, he’s making someone laugh...”

Today host Hoda Kotb tweeted a photo of Philbin and Gifford writing, “Heartbroken. We miss you, Regis” and comedian Jimmy Kimmel, who also hosts Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, called the father of four “a great broadcaster, a good friend and a tremendous amount of fun.”

“The end of an era,” declared Lisa Rinna of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. “A great friend and mentor. I will never forget your generosity of spirit sweet Regis. You changed my life and I will never forget the lessons you taught me. You showed me how to fly. May you Rest In Peace with the angels.”

Paula Abdul and Rosie O’Donnell called Philbin a “lovely” friend and man.

And The Bachelor host Chris Harrison said Philbin was a “legend” and “a true gentleman.”

President Donald Trump even shared a memory tweeting, “One of the greats in the history of television, Regis Philbin has passed on to even greater airwaves, at 88. He was a fantastic person, and my friend. He kept telling me to run for President. Holds the record for ‘most live television,’ and he did it well. Regis, we love you....”

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