Regis Philbin, Beloved TV Icon, Dies at 88
Regis Philbin, a legendary TV icon for decades, died on Friday, July 24, according to a report first broke on PEOPLE.com.
"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 told PEOPLE in a statement on Saturday.
Philbin, who started working in TV in the 1960s (alongside Joey Bishop), became a modern household name nationwide as the host of the daytime talk show Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee in 1988, alongside Kathie Lee Gifford. In 2001 Gifford left the show in 2001, and she was replaced by Kelly Ripa. Philbin stayed on as the host of the morning show as the host until 2011.
"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," the Philbin family told PEOPLE.com on Saturday. "We thank his fans and admirers for their incredible support over his 60-year career and ask for privacy as we mourn his loss."
Plus, many will recall that he was the original host of the popular game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? From 1999 until 2002. His catchphrase, "Is that your final answer?" became a national phenomenon during the show's nearly 400 episode run.
His television credits also included the first season of America's Got Talent and a version of Million Dollar Password, according to IMDB.
In fact, nobody spent more time in front of a television camera than Regis... ever. The Guinness World Records estimates that Philbin spent nearly 17,000 hours on television, surpassing a record held by Hugh Downs, The Hollywood Reporter noted.
Regis is survived by his wife of 50 years, Joy Philbin. He is the father of three daughters: J.J., Joana, and Amy. His son, Daniel, passed away in 2014.
Philbin would have celebrated his 89th birthday one month from today (August 25).