Famed personality and television host Regis Philbin is remembered by fans as a "true icon of television" following word of his death at the age of 88. The former Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee and later Live! with Regis and Kelly co-host died July 24 of natural causes, the Philbin family told PEOPLE, later thanking "his fans and admirers for their incredible support over his 60-year career." Philbin's credits include a record number of appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman as well as hosting duties on quiz competition Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and the first season of talent competition America's Got Talent.
"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," reads the Philbin family's full statement to PEOPLE. "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."
In addition to acting as a recurring guest co-host of Today and as recurring guest host on the Rachael Ray Show, Philbin appeared as himself on multiple sitcoms, including Seinfeld, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Spin City. Philbin also voiced animated versions of himself on The Simpsons and Family Guy.
Philbin's film credits, where the legendary personality typically portrayed himself, include Adam Sandler comedy Little Nicky and the Steve Martin-starring Cheaper by the Dozen remake. He also appeared opposite Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous and voiced Mabel, the step-sister of Cinderella, in animated feature films Shrek the Third and Shrek Forever After.
Today host Hoda Kotb, in a tribute posted to Twitter, wrote she is "heartbroken" over Philbin's death.
"Somehow, it seemed as though he would go on forever," tweeted one admirer. "RIP to a true icon of television."
Heartbroken. We will miss you regis 💔💔💔 pic.twitter.com/kB8oag8BFO— Hoda Kotb (@hodakotb) July 25, 2020
So sad to hear this. Somehow, it seemed as though he would go on forever. RIP to a true icon of television.— Lisa Gillette-Martin (@LGM_PR) July 25, 2020
No one in broadcasting history defines “avuncular” more than Regis Philbin. He was a fully legendary TV host, yet I feel like he slipped me five-dollar bills at every Thanksgiving.— Louis Virtel (@louisvirtel) July 25, 2020
RIP to Regis Philbin, a middle school sick day icon to American millennials— Amanda Mull (@amandamull) July 25, 2020
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
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
RIP to Regis Philbin. One of the best TV hosts ever. This is my favorite moment in game show history pic.twitter.com/9WA1OyejVh— Steve Perrault (@Steve_Perrault) July 25, 2020
Regis was a legend.
Rest easy boss man. Thanks for the endless hours of professionalism and entertainment. 🗣🗣✊🏻✊🏻✊🏻 pic.twitter.com/kVyXGNzQqM— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) July 25, 2020
Saddened to hear about the passing of Regis Philbin. Condolences to his wife Joy. 😞— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) July 25, 2020
It’s impossible to work in the television industry and not be inspired by Regis Philbin. RIP to an absolute legend and one of the very best to ever do it 💔 pic.twitter.com/Pv8hSqS7Oo— Chris Van Vliet (@ChrisVanVliet) July 25, 2020
I grew up on Regis, he made morning television fun.
Here is a clip from his first national broadcast for Live Regis & Kathie Lee in 1988. RIP. pic.twitter.com/W2LhV3KHvQ— 𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐲 𝐭𝐚𝐲𝐥𝐨𝐫 (@treytylor) July 25, 2020
Photo credit: Mitch Haaseth via Getty Imagesprev