Exclusive Details

Regis Philbin Dead at 88 Cause of Death: Heart Disease

4:19 PM PT -- Regis' other longtime co-host, Kathie Lee Gifford, has paid tribute to her famous on-screen partner in an emotional post.

Kathie took to Instagram with a photo of the two of them, writing ... "There are no words to fully express the love I have for my precious friend, Regis. 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 shared up to this very day."

She added, "I smile knowing somewhere in Heaven, at this very moment, he’s making someone laugh. It brings me great comfort knowing that he had a personal relationship with his Lord that brought him great peace. I send all the love in my heart to Joy, to his children, to the rest of his family and to the innumerable people he touched over his legendary life. There has never been anyone like him. And there never will be."

3:36 PM PT -- TMZ has confirmed with the Medical Examiner that Regis died from heart disease. He was pronounced dead Saturday at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, CT.

1:44 PM PT -- President Trump has responded to Regis' passing, taking to Twitter to say ... "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...."

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

1:21 PM PT -- Kelly Ripa -- Regis' longtime daytime co-host -- just responded to news of his death with a heartfelt message.

She took to Instagram and posted a photo of herself, Ryan Seacrest and Regis together, writing ... "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."

Kelly continued, "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."

Regis Philbin has died ... TMZ has learned.

The iconic TV host, actor, singer and all-around media personality who was once dubbed "the hardest working man in showbiz" passed away this weekend -- this according to a statement from his family.

They told 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."

A source tells TMZ Regis died early Saturday after suffering a heart attack at his home, possibly the one in Connecticut -- although, we have not confirmed that with the family at this point.

We know he'd been battling heart disease for a while now -- even having an angioplasty done in the '90s, not to mention a triple bypass surgery in 2007. Up until last year, Regis had said he was feeling relatively healthy in retirement.

In light of his death, we must say ... Regis was a star among stars, and had a storied career.

Regis got his start in Hollywood back in the '50s while working on "The Tonight Show," under which he served as a page. He went on to work in local news for a bit and even had his own show before getting more network exposure in the '60s on "The Joey Bishop Show."

From there, the ball kept rolling -- he went on to replace talk show host Steve Allen on his own show, but fell short up against Johnny Carson's strong ratings. Regis then bounced around in media, but stayed on with hosting gigs ... everything from radio shows, variety shows, game shows, lifestyle shows, talk shows and more. The guy was getting airtime.

In the late '80s, he perhaps got his biggest break by landing a co-hosting gig with Kathie Lee Gifford, which most know as "Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee" -- a nationally-syndicated morning talk show that has continued to this day, with other hosts filling in over the years ... perhaps most notably, Kelly Ripa, who replaced Kathie Lee when she left her hosting gig.

Regis co-hosted the show until 2011, when Michael Strahan replaced him. But, even during all those years in between, the man stayed busy -- as game show fans might already know.

Of course, Regis is also super well known for being the original host for the uber game show, 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' -- which he hosted from 1999 through 2002 ... as well as a couple different special event series spinoffs in '04 and 09. He hosted other game shows as well throughout the 2000s, not to mention the first season of "America's Got Talent."

Regis has worked on countless TV series and shows over the years as a special guest, guest host, co-host or just cameos in general, including recurring appearances on "Today," 'Rachael Ray,' "The Talk," "The Meredith Vieira Show," 'The Tonight Show,' "Entertainment Tonight," "The View," "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson," "Late Show with David Letterman," "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," "Good Morning America," "Wheel of Fortune," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," "Jeopardy!," "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," and on and on.

Regis is survived by his wife, Joy, his three children as well as his grandchildren. His son, Danny, died in 2014.

He was 88. RIP

Originally Published -- 12:11 PM PT

Hot Video
Click here for info about our online advertising practices.