Kelly Ripa Honors 'Mentor' Regis Philbin In Heartfelt Post

The two started working together on 'Live! With Regis and Kelly' in 2001.

Kelly Ripa is mourning Regis Philbin's death. The legendary television icon got a heartfelt tribute from his former Live! With Regis and Kelly co-host on Saturday. Philbin died on Friday at the age of 88 from natural causes.

"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," Ripa expressed in a joint statement between her and Live! co-host Ryan Seacrest. "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 replaced Kathie Lee Gifford on Live! in 2001, making the show Live! With Regis and Kelly. She and Philbin co-hosted together until November 2011.

During their final episode together, Ripa told Philbin, "Your light is what shined around all of us and made us look so bright for so long."

While the two didn't stay in touch after his departure, Philbin and Ripa reunited on Live! for its 2015 Halloween special. In a clip of their brief reunion, the TV personality was greeted by Ripa, who exclaimed, "I knew you wouldn't be able to stay away!"

Philbin also hosted the inaugural seasons of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and America’s Got Talent. He went on to helm a short-lived revivals of the game shows This Is Your Life and Million Dollar Password.

He once told The New York Times that the transition from morning to prime time marked a turning point. 

“That was the highlight of my life,” he revealed. “I realized there was a difference between a syndicated morning show and prime time. ‘Regis saved the network!’ I used to walk around saying that. I was a big man! I was a giant! It was a wonderful time in a broadcaster’s life to get a show like that. Wow, it was dynamite."

He also made cameos in Miss Congeniality 2, Shrek the Third, Seinfeld, 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother and The Simpsons, among other TV shows and films. ET spoke with Philbin and his daughter, J.J. Philbin, in April when he guest starred on Single Parents. J.J. was co-creator and executive producer of the short-lived ABC comedy.

Watch the video below to see our final interview with the TV icon.