BREAKING NEWS: TV host Regis Phillin dies of natural causes age 88

Regis Philbin has died of natural causes at the age of 88.

The TV icon’s family shared the news with People Saturday, revealing he passed away surrounded by loved ones on July 24.

In a statement, the family wrote that they would miss Philbin’s ‘legendary sense of humor, and his singular ability to make every day into something worth talking about.’

Philbin was one of America’s most beloved TV hosts, with a glittering career spanning more than six decades.

The star was a fixture on morning television for a generation, co-hosting ABC’s Live! from 1985 until his retirement in 2011.

He also hosted Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and the first season of America’s Got Talent.

President Trump led tributes to the small-screen star with a post shared to Twitter Saturday afternoon.

‘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.’

Former co-host Kelly Ripa – who co-hosted Live! with Philbin from 2001 until 2011 – took to Instagram calling her former co-star the ‘ultimate class act’.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Jimmy Fallon, Larry King and former Disney CEO Bob Iger also shared their tributes.

Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford kid around for the camera during a studio session. The pair worked together hosting Live! With Regis and Kathie-Lee from 1985 until 2000

Regis is pictured alongside Live! co-host Kelly Ripa in 2001. Ripa replaced Gifford on the hit ABC morning talk show, and the pair worked together until Philbin’s retirement in 2011

President Trump, pictured with Philbin in 2014, was among those who posted tributes to the TV icon

Philbin, who was born in 1931, served in the United States Navy before starting out in the television industry.

His first job was a page on The Tonight Show, hosted by Steve Allan, back in 1955.

In the 1960s and 70s, he began transitioned to on-screen roles, appearing on various regional talk shows.

Philbin finally became a national success in 1985 when he was paired with Kathie-Lee Gifford on ABC’s syndicated morning show, Live!.

Live! With Regis and Kathie-Lee became a staple for millions across America during its 15-year run.

The pair quickly became famous for their quick-witted banter and on-screen chemistry.

They remained firm friends following Gifford’s departure from the program in 2000.

Morning show smash! Philbin is pictured with his Live! co-host Kathie-Lee Gifford. The pair hosted their popular program from 1985 until 2000

Philbin and Gifford, pictured in 2015, remained in close contact over the years. Gifford left Live! in 2000 and defected to rival network NBC, where she worked alongside Hoda Kotb

Earlier this year, Philbin revealed that there ‘wasn’t a day that went by’ that he didn’t think of his time on-air with Gifford.

She was replaced on the program by Kelly Ripa in 2001.

Live! With Regis and Kelly was also a ratings smash, and the duo appeared together each weekday morning for a decade.

Philbin left the program in 2011, but did not stay in touch with Ripa.

In 2017, he told Larry King: ‘She got very offended when I left. She thought I was leaving because of her. I was leaving because I was getting older and it wasn’t right for me anymore.’

Live! With Regis and Kelly was also a ratings smash, and the pair appeared together each weekday morning for a decade. Philbin and Ripa are pictured interviewing then-Presidential nominee John Kerry ahead of the 2004 election

The pair are pictured on the day of Philbin’s final episode in 2011. The pair did not talk after he left the program

Philbin’s former co-host Kelly Ripa shared a tribute post to her Instagram page. Philbin previously revealed the pair had not spoken since he left the show in 2011

Meanwhile, Philbin also had bona fide success as a variety and game show host.

Between 1999 and 2002 he hosted Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, which became one of ABC’s most popular shows.

By late 1999, the program ran three nights a week on the network and garnered up to 30 million viewers.

It generated around one billion dollars in revenue in its first two years, and ABC has described the program ‘the more profitable in TV history’.

Philbin later returned to host the series between 2004 and 2009.

In 2006, Philbin also hosted the first season of America’s Got Talent.

Between 1999 and 2002 he hosted Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, which became one of ABC’s most popular shows. He is pictured at right during a taping in 1999

The beloved talk show host was born to working-class Catholic parents in 1931.

He grew up in the Bronx in New York and attended the University of Notre Dame, where he earned a sociology degree in 1953.

Philbin was married twice – first to Catherine ‘Kay’ Faylen, then to Joy Senese since 1970 – and had four children.

Joy frequently filled-in for Kathie-Lee Gifford and Kelly Ripa on Live!, hosting the show with her husband.

On Saturday, the Philbin family shared a statement with People, which read in full: ‘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 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.’

Philbin leaves behind his second wife Joy, who he had been married to since 1970


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