Kelly Ripa Fights Back Tears While Paying Tribute to Regis Philbin

The legendary TV host died last Friday at the age of 88.

Kelly Ripa is remembering her friend and former co-host, Regis Philbin.

During Monday's Live with Kelly and Ryan, Ripa fought back tears while speaking about the legendary TV icon, who died last Friday at the age of 88 from natural causes. Ripa co-hosted Live! With Regis and Kelly with Philbin from 2001 to 2011.

Ryan Seacrest began Monday's show by explaining to viewers that it's been "a difficult and emotional day" for everyone at Live.

"Kelly, I know a tough weekend for you especially because you worked with our dear friend, a friend who passed away over the weekend, Regis Philbin," he said. "I remember watching him as a child growing up. I was so excited to see him on TV because I felt like I knew him."

"In the summers I would have my breakfast while watching him and watching Kathie Lee. He had this amazing ability to be so comfortable on television," he continued. "This amazing ability to make you feel like he's your companion. And you look forward to hearing his stories ... and how he would tell those stories."

Ripa told Seacrest that she heard the news over the weekend, while she was with her husband, Consuelos, and their three children.

"As people get older you always know that certain things are inevitable, but Regis was one of the people who we all believed would figure out a way around the inevitable. It was not in the cards, I suppose," she explained, getting a little teary-eyed. "It was announced that he will be buried at his beloved Notre Dame which I just know means the world to him. So many people, like you Ryan, reached out to me and said, 'You're the first person I thought of,' but I have to tell you, the first person I thought of was Joy, and Johanna and Jay Jay his daughters. I thought of the girls and then I thought of Kathie Lee [Gifford]. Those were, I always say, Regis' core four. The ladies."

"He had this incredible partnership with Kathie Lee and of course his wife and daughters who are essentially my age," she added. "I'm one year older than them. We used to talk about what it was like to have a funny dad. My dad is funny, not Regis funny, but he's funny. Having a funny dad makes you funny. It just makes you funny. It makes you appreciate the ludicrous side of things. So I immediately thought of them and what it must feel like to somehow he couldn't find a way to live forever that we all assumed or thought he would, or should or somehow, God would give a special ticket for him. "

Ripa continued on, saying that she is also thinking of all the staff members and producers who have been here since the beginning with Philbin.

"I think about them because they really from the ground floor built this show into what it is and what you and I try to carry on," she shared, speaking to Seacrest. "I know from Regis and me working with you all these years, hosting the Disney Parade, we always looked at you -- you know, they don't make them like Regis anymore, and then here comes Ryan Seacrest and he says, 'That kid has it. He's got it. That thing you don't see anymore. The work ethic, the storytelling ability. You know, he could tell a story like nobody else.'"

Seacrest chimed in, recalling what it was like to host the memorable Disney Parade Ripa mentioned.

"The first time I worked with you and Regis on that Disney Parade, I thought I had made it. This is my big break, I'm working with Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa on the Disney Parade. This is it. This is what I grew up to do," he remembered. "As a young broadcaster, I looked up to [Regis]. I studied him. I watched him. I watched how he would walk on the set, how he would sit on the stool, how he would interview guests."

"There are just so very few people who are so iconic and so good at what they did and that was Regis Philbin," he added.

It was also announced during the episode that Friday's show of Live with Kelly and Ryan will be a re-airing of Philbin's last show.

Philbin's family confirmed the news of his death in a statement released to ET over the weekend.

"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," the statement read. "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."

The family shared in a second statement, released to ET on Monday, that they are "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, to help people in need in his beloved New York, especially his home borough of The Bronx. Thank you," the statement continued.

After hearing the tragic news, Ripa posted a heartfelt tribute to Instagram, accompanied with a joint statement from her and Seacrest.

"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," the message read. "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."

Ripa and Seacrest also paid tribute to Philbin in a statement that aired on Monday's Good Morning America, saying, "He was the ultimate class act. He left the world a better place."

Hear more in the video below.


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