Friends and admirers paid tribute on social media Saturday to TV veteran Regis Philbin, who died Friday of natural causes at the age of 88.
Philbin entertained audiences with his quick wit and enthusiastic interview style in a career that spanned more than six decades, most notably as host of daytime's "Live!" and the U.S. version of the popular game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."
Following news of his death, Kelly Ripa, Ryan Seacrest, Kathie Lee Gifford, Jimmy Kimmel, Rosie O'Donnell, and others posted on social media to honor the legendary host.
Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest, the current hosts of "Live!" each posted the following statement on Instagram. "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. 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."
Gifford, who was Philbin's co-host on "Live!" from 1985 to 2000, shared a photo on Instagram with a tribute to her "precious friend" that read, in part: "I simply adored him and every day with him was a gift. We spent 15 years together bantering and bickering and laughing ourselves silly — a tradition and a friendship we shard up to this very day."
Walt Disney Co.'s executive chairman, Bob Iger, wrote on social media that he was "heartbroken" to hear of the passing of his "longtime colleague and friend."
"Regis graced us with warmth, humor & a self-deprecating wit, always bringing happiness to us all," Iger tweeted. "Our hearts go out to Joy and to his family. Rest in Peace, Regis."
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
In his tribute to Philbin, Kimmel said: "Regis was a great broadcaster, a good friend and a tremendous amount of fun. He leaves behind a beautiful family and a TV legacy that will likely go unmatched. Regis, I hope our friend Rickles met you at the pearly gates with open arms and a slew of the insults you loved so much."
Regis was a great broadcaster, a good friend and a tremendous amount of fun. He leaves behind a beautiful family and a TV legacy that will likely go unmatched. Regis, I hope our friend Rickles met you at the pearly gates with open arms and a slew of the insults you loved so much
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) July 25, 2020
Hoda Kotb posted a photo on Instagram of her former "Today" co-host Gifford with Philbin, with the caption: "Heartbroken. We will miss you regis." Katie Couric, who also posted a photo on Instagram, wrote: "I'm so sad to hear this news," adding, "sending love and strength to Joy, his girls and his legions of friends and fans."
O'Donnell, who shared a Daytime Emmy win for best talk show host with Philbin in 2001 during the run of her own talk show, described Philbin as a "lovely man."
President Trump also shared in the remembrances, calling Philbin "one of the greats in the history of television," while also claiming Philbin encouraged him to run for president.
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
Here are more tributes to Philbin:
New York lost a TV legend today.
Bronx born and raised, Regis Philbin greeted us for years with our morning coffee and at night after dinner.
His humor and enthusiasm touched millions of Americans. My heart goes out to Joy and his loved ones.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) July 25, 2020
Regis was a legendary figure in TV. There was no one like him. I used to love watching him. He was always up, always genuine, always real. God bless, Regis. #ripregis #RegisPhilbin https://t.co/mJyWwT9FJ4
— Maria Shriver (@mariashriver) July 25, 2020
rip to the van nest BX legend regis philbin
— Desus Nice (@desusnice) July 25, 2020
The end of an era. A great friend and mentor. I will never forget your generosity of spirit sweet Regis.
You changed my life and I will never forget the lessons you taught me. You showed me how to fly.
May you Rest In Peace with the angels.#RIP #RegisPhilbin pic.twitter.com/rVOKVAF42v
— lisa rinna (@lisarinna) July 25, 2020
This one hurts. A staple in our household growing up, his joy was infectious and his hosting skills among the greatest I’ve ever seen. Whether on “Live” or leading “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” he was always captivating & hilarious. #RIPRegis https://t.co/PoajN1yb3W
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) July 25, 2020
Saddened to hear about the passing of Regis Philbin. Condolences to his wife Joy. 😞
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) July 25, 2020
Regis Philbin brought humor, warmth and wit into so many homes. Many people who never met him feel as though they’ve lost a personal friend and that’s a testament to his character. He will be missed.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 25, 2020