Joy Philbin is speaking out for the first time following the death of her husband and longtime host Regis Philbin.
As reported, the legendary TV personality passed away on July 24 at age 88, and since then, tributes have come pouring in from fans, friends, and colleagues who knew and loved him. In a new statement to People, the 79-year-old widow opened up about what she and her daughters, Jennifer and Joanna, will always remember and admire about their dear Regis.
Related: Kathie Lee Gifford’s Tender Last Encounter With Regis Philbin Before His Death
Speaking on behalf of their family, she told the outlet:
“He let everyone into his life. 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.”
Absolutely spot on. Regis’s connection to his audience was effortless and he possessed a stage presence unlike anyone else in the industry. His legacy will live on for years to come and he will truly be missed.
Although it was initially reported the 88-year-old died from natural causes, a spokesperson for Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Farmington, CT just confirmed to E! News that the TV and game show icon died from a myocardial infarction due to coronary artery disease. In simpler terms, he ultimately suffered a heart attack. This seems to track with what he heard about his “failing” physical condition and overall frail appearance just weeks before he died.
The Philbin family previously shared an official statement on his death, which read:
“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 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 and ask for privacy as we mourn his loss.”
Both of Regis’s longtime Live! co-hosts have both paid tribute to their beloved friend. Kathie Lee Gifford, who hosted with the legendary TV personality for over 15 years, wrote on Instagram:
“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. 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.”
In addition to her own social media message about the love and respect they shared for one another, Kelly Ripa tearfully mourned legacy during an episode of her show with Ryan Seacrest. She said:
“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 would somehow figure out a way around the inevitable. It was not in the cards, I suppose.”
We continue to wish Regis’ loved ones comfort during this difficult time.
[Image via Joseph Marzullo/WENN]