Longtime media personality Regis Philbin, host of “Live! WIth Regis and Kathie Lee” and “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?,” has died. He was 88.
News of Regis Philbin’s death shook social media Saturday as his former castmates, stars and even politicians paid tribute to the late TV personality.
The “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?” and “Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee” host died Friday of natural causes at 88, his family confirmed in a statement sent to USA TODAY by his representative Kay Lewis.
“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, remembering “his warmth, his legendary sense of humor, and his singular ability to make every day into something worth talking about.”
Shortly after news of Philbin’s death broke, tributes poured in on Twitter and Instagram.
Kelly Ripa, his former co-host on “Live! With Regis and Kelly,” shared an old photo her and Philbin took with Mickey Mouse and Ryan Seacrest and wrote a loving joint tribute with Seacrest.
“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,” Ripa captioned the photo. “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.”
President Donald Trump recalled Philbin’s advice to him once upon a time and offered his condolences to Philbin’s wife, Joy Philbin.
“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,” Trump tweeted. “Holds the record for “most live television”, and he did it well. Regis, we love you.”
Comedian Ellen DeGeneres recognized Philbin’s influence on telvision.
“Regis Philbin spent more time on television than almost anyone. And we were all better for it. Sending love to his family and his fans,” she tweeted.
Larry King shared a photo of him and Philbin together and offered his condolences to his family and wife.
“Regis Philbin was such a prolific talent. He could do it all, and we loved him for it. I will miss him every day,” King tweeted.
Henry Winkler recalled one of his very first interviews for promoting “Happy Days,” the show that catapulted him to fame as Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli, was with Philbin.
Lisa Rinna called Philbin a “great friend and mentor” and noted that she would never forget his “generosity of spirit.”
She added: “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.”
Former Disney CEO, Bob Iger, wrote that he was “heartbroken to hear that a long time colleague & friend, #regisphilbin passed away at the age of 88.”
He continued: “Regis graced us with warmth, humor & a self-deprecating wit, always bringing happiness to us all. Our hearts go out to Joy and to his family. Rest In Peace, Regis.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a tribute to Philbin, who was born in the Bronx.
“New York lost a TV legend today. Bronx born and raised, Regis Philbin greeted us for years with our morning coffee and at night after dinner. His humor and enthusiasm touched millions of Americans. My heart goes out to Joy and his loved ones,” Cuomo tweeted.
Michael Strahan, who guest hosted “Live! with Regis and Kelly” shared a photo of him and Philbin together and wrote that he was “heartbroken.”
“Regis was an incredible man who could light up any room. He always made me feel special no matter if I saw him in the studio or ran into him on the street. Legend and Icon aren’t strong enough words to describe him,” he tweeted.
Josh Gad was saddened by Philbin’s passing, writing that “this one hurts.”
“A staple in our household growing up, his joy was infectious and his hosting skills among the greatest I’ve ever seen. Whether on ‘Live’ or leading ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ he was always captivating & hilarious,” Gad tweeted.
Tony Bennett wrote: “Regis Philbin always made me laugh and I loved being on his show as he made everyone feel so welcome. We will miss him.”
Craig Ferguson tweeted: “Awful news. Regis Philbin was a friend and a mentor to me. I will never forget his kindness and support. He truly was a mensch.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote about Philbin’s friendly demeanor.
“Regis Philbin brought humor, warmth and wit into so many homes. Many people who never met him feel as though they’ve lost a personal friend and that’s a testament to his character,” he wrote. “He will be missed.”
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