Legendary TV Host Regis Philbin Passes Away at 88

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It's the end of an era. Regis Philbin, who hosted the Live! morning program for 23 years, died on July 24 at age 88. Per People, he passed away of natural causes.

The Philbin family said in an exclusive statement to People:

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 began hosting The Morning Show in 1983, later rebranded as Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee when he worked opposite Kathie Lee Gifford in the 1980s. Gifford departed 13 years into her tenure, to be replaced by Kelly Ripa. Philbin then retired in 2011; Ripa currently carries the torch with Ryan Seacrest. 

He also earned acclaim for hosting Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, among other game shows. Philbin holds the Guinness World Record for most hours on American television. He spent 16,746.5 hours on TV, as  of September 2011: which averages to nearly an hour a day, every day, throughout his five-decade career.

Many famous faces expressed their sadness at the news, including Ripa and Seacrest. She called her former co-host "the ultimate class act":

Gifford grieved her "precious friend":

The Bachelor's Chris Harrison (who also hosted Millionaire) echoed the sentiment, tweeting:

Walt Disney Company executive chairman Bob Iger - who previously helmed ABC Television, on which Live! airs - expressed his condolences:

Hoda Kotb said: