Celebs Mourn the Passing of TV Legend Regis Philbin: 'We Were Beyond Lucky to Have Him'

Television icon Regis Philbin died on Friday of natural causes at 88 years old.

Philbin's family confirmed the TV host and actor's death to People in a statement Saturday. "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," they said.

Beginning his career in 1962, Philbin made his debut as a guest host for The Tonight Show, according to his IMDb page. The TV personality went on to host and appear on a plethora of other programs, including The Regis Philbin Show, Live With Regis and Kathie Lee (with Kathie Lee Gifford), and Live with Regis and Kelly. He was also best known as the host of the popular game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

Regis is best remembered for his morning Live series, which still airs with Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest as co-hosts. Philbin hosted the program from 1988 until 2011.

Ripa and Seacrest acknowledged Philbin in a statement on Instagram Saturday: "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 everyday on Live for more than 23 years. We were beyond lucky to have him as a mentor in our careers and aspire everyday 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, the longtime former co-host of Live With Regis and Kathie Lee, tweeted later that afternoon: "REGIS. There will never be another."

Philbin also had a number of TV and movie roles throughout his career, often playing an exaggerated version of himself like he did in a particularly memorable episode of How I Met Your Mother. He also appeared in a few episodes of his Live co-host Kelly Ripa's sitcom Hope and Faith as Handsome Hal Halverson.

While primarily known for his television work, Philbin also released three musical albums, including 1968's It's Time for Regis Philbin. He later put out a standards album in 2004 titled When You're Smiling. His final record was a Christmas release, fittingly called The Regis Philbin Christmas Album.

Regis Philbin
Host Regis Philbin greets the audience at The Mr. Mature America Pageant held at Ocean City Music Pier on April 8, 2017 in Ocean City, New Jersey. Philbin died Saturday at 88 years old. Getty/Donald Kravitz

One of the biggest tributes for Philbin following news of his death came from President Donald Trump. He called Philibin a "fantastic person" and offered condolences to his wife Joy. According to Trump in a tweet, Philbin kept telling him to run for the presidency.

....And to Joy, his wonderful wife who he loved so much, my warmest condolences!!!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2020

Some people who got a chance to work with the host spoke warmly about those opportunities including Jillian Barberie, who had co-hosted Live with Philbin, and comedia Rob Riggle. Actor Henry Winkler also remarked that Philbin was one of the first people to interview him when he was on Happy Days.

Regis was one of the very FIRST interviews I did to promote HAPPY DAYS in 1975 ... Regis was one of a kind .. Sleep well https://t.co/48DrPu6nVi

— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) July 25, 2020

Another highlight of my career was co-hosting with Regis on Live It was a once in a lifetime moment to sit beside the king of improv tv. He was funny and gracious and warm. Love to Joy and his family. #RIPREGIS pic.twitter.com/gDrdH4o2aY

— Jillian Barberie (@askjillian) July 25, 2020

Numerous celebrities also paid tribute to the morning TV star, among them Dane Cook, Josh Gad, Paul Reubens (of Pee-wee Herman fame) and Bob Saget.

Broadcasting legends Regis Philbin has passed away. I can't think of him without remember all the @Letterman appearances.. many laughs.. a storied career. RIP

— DC (@DaneCook) 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

I absolutely LOVED Regis Philbin. I knew him to always be interested in everything, current, happy, funny, generous and sweet. As wonderful a man as he was talented. And, as this photos proves, he was up for anything! I will never forget him and miss him very much. RIP Regis ❤️ pic.twitter.com/U2TWkStgv0

— Pee-wee Herman (@peeweeherman) July 25, 2020

What a loss- The wonderful Regis Philbin. I met him in 1985 when I was on the “Rodney Dangerfield Young Comedians Special” and we loved each other ever since. Such a TV icon and above all, a good man. My sympathies to Joy and all of his children and friends.

— bob saget (@bobsaget) July 25, 2020

Ahhh wow…. Rest In Peace Regis. https://t.co/cth64GeLnX

— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) July 25, 2020

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

Damn. Awful news. Regis Philbin was a friend and a mentor to me. I will never forget his kindness and support. He truly was a mensch.

— Craig Ferguson (@CraigyFerg) 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

Updated 7:30 PM ET, with a tweet from Kathie Lee Gifford.