Regis Philbin, 88, died of natural causes Friday evening, The Associated Press reported.
The television icon first broke into the industry in 1955 and served various roles for the next six decades. He was perhaps best known for co-hosting "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee" from 1988-2000. Kelly Ripa replaced Kathie Lee Gifford and Philbin co-hosted "Live! with Regis and Kelly" from 2001-2011.
"He was the ultimate class act, bringing his laughter and joy into our homes everyday on Live for more than 23 years," Ripa said in an Instagram post. "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."
Beginning in late 1999 and running through the summer of 2002, Philbin hosted the immensely popular "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" game show.
"It generated around $1 billion in revenue in its first two years — ABC had said it was the more profitable show in TV history — and helped make Philbin himself a millionaire many times over," according to the AP.
Philbin set a Guinness World Record for "Most Hours on Camera" in 2004.
Philbin is survived by his wife, Joy, and their daughters J.J. and Joanna Philbin, as well as his daughter Amy Philbin with his first wife, Catherine Faylen.
REGIS. There will never be another.
— Kathie Lee Gifford (@KathieLGifford) July 25, 2020
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....
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2020
We are heartbroken to hear that a long time colleague & friend, #regisphilbin passed away at the age of 88. 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.
— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) July 25, 2020
Regis Philbin and his wife Joy Philbin at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival celebration.
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