Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest paid tribute to the late Regis Philbin on Monday’s episode of “Live! with Kelly and Ryan,” three days after the 88-year-old TV legend died of natural causes.
“It’s been a very difficult and emotional day for all of us at ‘Live.’ Kelly, I know a tough weekend for you especially because you worked with our dear friend, a friend that passed away over the weekend, Regis Philbin,” Seacrest began. “A legend on television. A best friend to so many of us who didn’t even know him, across the country.”
Ripa, 49, who co-hosted “Live!” with Philbin for 11 years, said she was surrounded by her family on Saturday upon hearing the “horrible news” of Philbin’s death.
“As people get older, you always know that certain things are inevitable, and passing away is one of those things, but Regis is one of the people that we all believed, I think, would somehow figure out a way around the inevitable. It was not in the cards,” an emotional Ripa said.
Philbin’s family confirmed his death on Saturday. He was one month shy of his 89th birthday.
Seacrest, 45, who joined “Live!” in 2017, added how he looked up to Philbin, reflecting on when they worked together during a Disney parade years prior.
“I remember watching him as a child growing up, and I was so excited to see him on TV because I feel like I knew him,” Seacrest said. “I remember when I got the chance to work with you [Ripa] and Regis the first time on that parade. I thought, ‘I made it.’”
In addition to Ripa and Seacrest, longtime “Live!” producer Michael Gelman also spoke about Philbin’s legacy on Monday’s show.
“I came to Regis as a kid and he took a chance on me,” Gelman, 58, said. “He was responsible for my career, my family, he was there when I met my wife.”
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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. – Kelly and Ryan
On Saturday, Ripa and Seacrest posted a joint message on Instagram, sharing the same photo as they posed together with Philbin and Mickey Mouse.
“We are beyond saddened to learn about the loss of Regis Philbin,” the statement read. “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.”
Earlier on Monday, former “Live!” star Kathie Lee Gifford recalled her final encounter with Philbin just two weeks ago.
“I just thought to myself, ‘Lord, is that the last time I’m going to see my friend?’ Cause he was failing, I could tell,” she said on the “Today” show.
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