Fans are mourning the loss of television legend Regis Philbin, who died on Friday, July 24, 2020. Tributes continue to pour in honoring the beloved talk show and game show host.
Philbin was renowned for his daily morning banter with co-hosts Kathie Lee Gifford from 1985 to 2000, and Kelly Ripa from 2001 to 2011. Gifford maintained a close relationship with Philbin since their on-screen collaboration. She recently shared her thoughts on the loss of her dear friend.
Regis Philbin’s family breaks the news
Philbin is survived by his wife Joy, whom he married in 1970, and three daughters. In a statement on Saturday, Philbin’s family shared the news of his passing.
“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,” the statement read, according to CNN. “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.”
His family requested privacy during this time so they could grieve in peace. “We thank his fans and admirers for their incredible support over his 60-year career and ask for privacy as we mourn his loss,” the statement read.
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Kathie Lee Gifford pens emotional tribute
Taking to Instagram shortly after Philbin’s death, Gifford wrote a moving memorial honoring her close friend and former colleague.
“There are no words to fully express the love I have for my precious friend, Regis. I simply adored him and every day with him was a gift,” Gifford captioned a pic of the pair. “We spent 15 years together bantering and bickering and laughing ourselves silly. A tradition and a friendship we shared up to this very day.”
Gifford expressed how Philbin brought joy to all who knew him with his trademark sense of humor. The former Today co-host takes solace in knowing Philbin was a man of faith.
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“I smile knowing somewhere in Heaven, at this very moment, he’s making someone laugh,” Gifford wrote. “It brings me great comfort knowing that he had a personal relationship with his Lord that brought him great peace. I send all the love in my heart to Joy, to his children, to the rest of his family and to the innumerable people he touched over his legendary life. There has never been anyone like him. And there never will be.”
A final gift for Kathie Lee Gifford
Appearing on the Today Show the Monday following Philbin’s passing, Gifford’s pal and former co-host Hoda Kotb asked what she’ll miss the most about the TV legend.
“Everything,” she tearfully told Kotb on Today. “I was just so grateful the Lord gave me that final time. And 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. … I was so worried about him. … The day that we came to have lunch with you was the last time I heard him laugh.’”
Gifford holds that memory close to her heart today. “That will forever be a precious gift the Lord gave me,” she revealed, “that I got to laugh again with one of my best friends in all my lifetime.”
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The fondness Gifford held for Philbin was clearly mutual. In April 2019, he recorded a special message for Gifford on her final day as co-host of Today.
“Kathie Lee, you want to know the best part of my life — my TV life — was the 15 years I spent with you,” he said in his tribute. “I want you to know how I will always remember the great times that we had working together and how you are as a person, just great.”
Philbin will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and fans.