Regis Philbin’s cause of death was revealed on Wednesday, July 29, less than a week after the beloved host’s passing.
The 88-year-old former Live With Regis and Kathie Lee host died from a myocardial infarction due to coronary artery disease, a spokesperson for Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Farmington, Connecticut, tells Us Weekly.
Us confirmed on Saturday, July 25, that Philbin had died the night before.
“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,” his family said in a statement to Us. “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.”
The Philbin family later asked for mourners to donate to New York City food bank to keep his memory alive in a second statement on Monday, July 27: “Regis’s family is overwhelmed by the outpouring of love we’ve received. If you’d like to honor Regis’s memory, we kindly ask that you make a donation to http://foodbanknyc.org/, to help people in need in his beloved New York, especially his home borough of The Bronx. Thank you.”
The Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? host’s wife of 50 years, Joy Philbin, and their two daughters, Jennifer and Joanna, spoke out for the first time on Wednesday.
“He let everyone into his life,” they told People magazine. “He turned every little daily annoyance and happiness into a story, and he shared all those little stories with people in a joyful and conversational way. It made his audience feel like they were right alongside him — because they were.”
Philbin hosted Live with Kathie Lee Gifford from 1985 to 2000. After Gifford left the popular morning show, Kelly Ripa joined Philbin in 2001 and the show was renamed Live with Regis and Kelly. Philbin wrapped up his long run on the ABC show in 2011.
Both Gifford and Ripa have paid tribute to their former cohost in recent days.
“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,” Gifford, 66, wrote via Instagram. “We spent 15 years together bantering and bickering and laughing ourselves silly—a tradition and a friendship we shared up to this very day. 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.”
Ripa, 49, and cohost Ryan Seacrest, meanwhile, spoke about Philbin on-air on Monday.
“Regis is one of the people that we all believed would somehow figure out a way around the inevitable. It was not in the cards, I suppose,” the former soap star said on Live With Kelly and Ryan.Listen to Us Weekly's Hot Hollywood as each week the editors of Us break down the hottest entertainment news stories!
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