Celebrities honor TV legend Regis Philbin, who died of natural causes – AOL

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.”

Related: Regis Philbin through the years

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Regis Philbin through the years

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NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 11: Regis Philbin arrives for the ‘Late Show with David Letterman’ at Ed Sullivan Theater on June 11, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – JULY 24: TV personality Regis Philbin enters the ‘Late Show With David Letterman’ taping at the Ed Sullivan Theater on July 24, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/FilmMagic)

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 02: TV personality Regis Philbin enters the ‘Late Show With David Letterman’ taping at the Ed Sullivan Theater on April 2, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/FilmMagic)

NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 03: TV personality Regis Philbin enters the ‘Late Show With David Letterman’ taping at the Ed Sullivan Theater on January 3, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/FilmMagic)

NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 31: Regis Philbin appears on ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’ at Ed Sullivan Theater on January 31, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)

NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 17: Regis Philbin tells the Late Show audience that he was kissed on the lips by David Letterman when Letterman appeared earlier in the week on Philbin’s show. Regis Philbin was Dave’s guest on the Late Show with David Letterman on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by John P. Filo/CBS via Getty Images)

NEW YORK – OCTOBER 06: Television Personality Regis Philbin visits ‘Late Show With David Letterman’ at the Ed Sullivan Theater on October 6, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage)

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 18: Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa on set during Regis Philbin’s Final Show of ‘Live! with Regis & Kelly’ at the Live with Regis & Kelly Studio on November 18, 2011 in New York New York. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 18: Regis Philbin on set during Regis Philbin’s Final Show of ‘Live! with Regis & Kelly’ at the Live with Regis & Kelly Studio on November 18, 2011 in New York New York. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

NEW YORK – AUGUST 18: Television Personality Regis Philbin visits ‘Late Show With David Letterman’ at the Ed Sullivan Theater on August 18, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage)

Regis Philbin signs a large poster copy of his TV Guide cover in which he is dressed as Major Nelson from ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ (Photo by Gregory Pace/FilmMagic)

Regis Philbin at the Ed Sullivan Theatre in New York City, New York (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)

385178 07: Talk show host Regis Philbin and new co-host Kelly Ripa speak to the audience during a broadcast of ‘Live with Regis and Kelly,’ February 5, 2001 in New York City. Ripa, who is known for her role on ABC’s soap opera ‘All My Children’ replaces Kathie Lee Gifford who left the show in July 2000. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Newsmakers)

07/28/00 New York City Kathie Lee Gifford’s final performance on TV’s ‘Live with Regis & Kathie Lee’ at ABC studios. Photo by Evan Agostini/ImageDirect

Regis Philbin during Regis Philbin Signs His New Book ‘I’m Only One Man’ – September 12, 1995 at B. Dalton Bookstore in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

Regis Philbin during Revlon’s Unforgettable Women of 1990 at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)




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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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