“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 every day on Live for more than 23 years,” Kelly, 49, shared on Instagram next to a throwback pic of her, Regis and Ryan Seacrest, who currently hosts Live! with her. “We were beyond lucky to have him as a mentor in our careers and aspire every day 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.”
Kelly shared her heartfelt message on social media shortly after the game show host’s family revealed he died from “natural causes” one month before 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,” they said in a statement obtained by Us Weekly. “We thank his fans and admirers for their incredible support over his 60-year career and ask for privacy as we mourn his loss.”
Regis, who won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host, first worked with Kelly when she replaced Kathie Lee Gifford on Live! in 2001. The duo continued working together until Regis announced his retirement in 2011. “This will be my last year on this show,” he said at the time. “It was the biggest thrill of my life.”
After leaving the show, Regis was able to spend more time with his kids, Joanna, J.J., Amy and Daniel, who later died in 2014. He also celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary to wife Joy Philbin this past March. “Regis worships the ground Joy walks on,” a source previously told Closer Weekly. “They truly are best friends.”
Although he’s gone, fans will remember the game show host from the incredible life he had at home and on air.
If you’d like to honor Regis’ memory, his family kindly asks that you “make a donation to http://foodbanknyc.org/, to help people in need in his beloved New York, especially his home borough of The Bronx.”