Regis Philbin’s cause of death has been revealed.
The TV legend, a household name during his ever-present, six-decade career on the small screen, died Friday of natural causes at 88.
Linda Silvia of the chief medical examiner’s office in Farmington, Connecticut, confirmed Thursday that Philbin died from “myocardial infarction due to coronary artery disease and hypertension.”
Philbin’s family confirmed the news of Philbin’s death in a statement sent Saturday by his representative, Lewis Kay.
“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 wrote.
Philbin, embraced by millions for a less-polished familiarity and brisk speaking style that seemed more neighborhood than Hollywood, was a dominant TV force in daytime for more than two decades, co-hosting “Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee” and “Live With Regis and Kelly.” He briefly became the king of prime time, too, as host of ABC’s game-show phenomenon “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire.”
Over his career, Philbin became a ubiquitous presence on television, spending decades in daytime talk highlighted by more than 20 years on the morning show with Gifford (1985-2000) and then Kelly Ripa (2001-2011). Philbin made his last appearance on the show, now known as “Live With Kelly and Ryan,” in November 2011.
After his passing, Kathie Lee Gifford reflected on the last time she saw her former co-star and longtime friend during an apperance on the “Today” show Monday. She said she had lunch with Philbin and his wife, Joy, at Gifford’s Connecticut home about two weeks ago.
“We just had the best time, and after they left, I just thought to myself, ‘Lord, is that the last time I’m going to see my friend?’ Because he was failing, I could tell,” she said.
Gifford added that she is “so grateful the Lord gave me that final time” with Philbin.
“It was so precious because when I talked to Joy the day that I found out right after he had passed, she said, ‘Kathie, he hadn’t laughed in a long, long time.’ She said, ‘I was so worried about him,’ ” she said.
Contributing: Morgan Hines and Bill Keveney, USA TODAY
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