Kelly Ripa Posted an Emotional Instagram Tribute to Regis Philbin, Who Has Died at 88

Devin Tomb
Photo credit: Robin Platzer
Photo credit: Robin Platzer

From Harper's BAZAAR

  • Legendary television host Regis Philbin died on July 24, 2020, of natural causes, his family confirmed in a statement to the press.

  • Philbin was just one month shy of his 89th birthday.

  • Friends of Philbin are showing an outpouring of love and condolences on social media, including former co-host Kelly Ripa and Today's Hoda Kotb.

It was announced on Saturday that Regis Philbin, a household name and iconic television host, died on Friday, July 24, at the age of 88.

"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," his family shared in an exclusive statement to People. "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 Philbin famously hosted Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, the hit game show that became a pillar of '90s pop culture in America. But he was perhaps best known as the lovable host of Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee, which first aired in 1988 and continued for 15 years. After Kathie Lee Gifford left ABC, the show was renamed Live! with Regis and Kelly, co-starring Kelly Ripa. Philbin and Ripa enjoyed a warm partnership as co-hosts until he retired from morning television in 2011, after 23 years. Ripa now, of course, has continued Live! with co-host Ryan Seacrest.

In response to the news of Philbin's death, Ripa posted a tribute to her long-time co-host on Instagram. In the photo, Ripa is with Philbin alongside Ryan Seacrest and Mickey Mouse, dressed as Santa Claus. Philbin was an on-street interviewer at Walt Disney World's Very Merry Christmas Parade, and he later came on as co-host with Ripa then joining him.

"We are beyond saddened to learn about the loss of Regis Philbin. He was the ultimate class act, bringing his laughter and joy into our homes everyday on Live for more than 23 years," Kelly wrote. "We were beyond lucky to have him as a mentor in our careers and aspire every day 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."

Notably, Ripa signed the post "Kelly and Ryan." Less than an hour later, the post reached nearly 80,000 likes with loving comments pouring in. "You guys were so so great together. Icons," wrote comedian Joel McHale. "He will be missed. Thanks for letting me on your show to hang with you guys. You and Ryan are terrific together as well!"

Gifford soon followed on Instagram, posting a heartfelt tribute that begins: "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."

Hoda Kotb, who sat alongside Kathie Lee Gifford during her second act as a morning television personality, also shared her condolences on Instagram, with a photo of Gifford and Philbin on set together.

"Heartbroken. We will miss you regis. Nobody like you 💔," Kotb wrote.

While Philbin died of natural causes, he had a few health issues over the years including triple bypass surgery in 2007 and a hip replacement in 2009. As many fans have already said of the beloved father, husband, and TV host, he sure will be missed.

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