“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,” she wrote on Instagram. “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.”
The message was accompanied by a photo of Philbin, Ripa, Ryan Seacrest, and Mickey Mouse dressed as Santa Claus.
Philbin and Ripa worked together on Live! with Regis and Kelly from 2001 to 2011, when Ripa took over for Kathie Lee Gifford, who had worked with Philbin on Live! With Regis and Kathy Lee. Philbin retired in 2011 after appearing on the iconic morning program in one iteration or another for more than 28 years.
While Philbin and Ripa had different styles, looks, and attitudes, the odd pairing worked and they had chemistry for the decade they hosted the ABC production.
Off-camera, reports surfaced that the two didn’t have such a good relationship as they did in front of the camera. In 2017, Philbin revealed that the two hadn’t been in touch since he left, saying that Ripa was offended when he left, believing that she thought she was the cause of his departure.
He denied this, saying that as he aged, he realized that the role wasn’t right for him any longer. Philbin added that he hadn’t been invited back to the program after leaving, though he’d like to stay in touch with the show that he helped make a hit. The network pushed back, saying that he had been invited to make special appearances.
In late 2019, Howard Stern seemed to confirm this, saying that he didn’t think Ripa was fond of her former co-host, as USA Today reported at the time.
When Jimmy Kimmel, who was interviewing the radio host, said that he didn’t think that sounded true, Stern confirmed that it was.
“They don’t talk or anything as far as I know. I thought it was an issue where Kelly felt that she should’ve been told by Regis that he was leaving the show,” he said.
Ripa currently continues to co-host the program with Ryan Seacrest and it has been renamed Live with Kelly and Ryan.
Philbin died of a heart attack at his home in Manhattan. He had struggled with heart issues for several years.