Longtime media personality Regis Philbin, host of “Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee”; and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” Has died. He was 88 years old.
The cause of Regis Philbin’s death has been identified.
The television legend, a home name during his ever-present, six-decade career on the small screen, died Friday of natural causes at the age of 88.
Linda Sylvia, chief medical examiner in Farmington, Connecticut, confirmed Thursday that Philbin had died of “myocardial infarction due to coronary heart disease and hypertension.”
Philbin’s family confirmed the news of Philbin’s death in a statement sent Saturday by his spokesman, Lewis Kay.
“We share with deep sadness that our beloved Regis Philbin passed away at night for natural reasons, one month ashamed of his 89th birthday,” his family wrote.
Philbin, plagued by millions for a less polished acquaintance and lively style of conversation that seemed more neighborly than Hollywood, has been the dominant television force in the daytime for more than two decades, organizing “Live! With Regis and Katie Lee” and “Live with Regis and Kelly He briefly became king of prime time, as well as leading the ABC game phenomenon “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”
During his career, Philbin became ubiquitous on television, spending decades in daytime conversations highlighted for more than 20 years on a morning show with Gifford (1985-2000) and then Kelly Ripa (2001-2011). Philbin made his last appearance on the show, now known as “Live With Kelly and Ryan,” in November 2011.
After it passed, Katie Lee Gifford pondered when she last saw the former co-star and longtime friend during a performance on Monday’s show. She said she had lunch with Philbin and his wife, Joy, at Gifford’s home in Connecticut about two weeks ago.
“We just had the best time, and after they left, I just thought to myself,‘ Lord, is this the last time I see my friend? “Since he failed, I could tell,” she said.
Gifford added that she was “so grateful that the Lord gave me one last time” with Philbin.
It was so expensive because when I talked to Joy the day I found out he had just passed, she said, “Katie, he hasn’t laughed in a long time.” She said, “I was so worried about him.” she said.
Staff: Morgan Hines and Bill Caveny, USA Today
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