2020 dealt the world another low blow today—iconic television host Regis Philbin has died at the age of 88.

His family announced the news on Saturday and released this statement: “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.”

As a member of the Oregon Trail generation, I grew up seeing Regis on our kitchen TV set alongside Kathie Lee Gifford on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. Later, I often tuned in to watch Regis coaching anxious contestants in “the hot seat” on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, where he showcased the perfect blend of humor and heart. His many (many!) appearances on The Late Show With David Letterman were always entertaining, and it was Regis who frequently filled in for Letterman when the talk show host took a hiatus for quintuple bypass surgery in the year 2000.

Tributes and memories of the late star started rolling in on Twitter as soon as the news hit Saturday afternoon. 

The Bachelor franchise host Chris Harrison tweeted, “We throw this word around too much but Regis Philbin was a legend.” 

Actress Lisa Rinna tweeted, “You changed my life and I will never forget the lessons you taught me. You showed me how to fly.” 

Fellow talk show host Jimmy Kimmel tweeted, “Regis was a great broadcaster, a good friend and a tremendous amount of fun . . . I hope our friend (Don) Rickles met you at the pearly gates with open arms and a slew of the insults you loved so much.” 

Paula Abdul shared her condolences for Regis, saying “So sad to hear about the passing of my lovely friend Regis Philbin. You brought joy and happiness to so many. You will be missed.” 

Rosie O’Donnell called Regis “a lovely man” and shared a clip of the two on set together. 

And Regis wasn’t just a beloved TV host because of his personality—his gift of gab translated into an official Guinness World Record: the most hours on television. Regis logged 16,746.5 hours on US television during his 50-year career. 

An impressive career for one of the nation’s most enduring personalities, indeed. Rest in peace, Regis! 

Carolyn Moore

Carolyn traded a career in local TV news for a gig as a stay-at-home mom, where the days are just as busy and the pay is only slightly worse. She lives in flyover country with her husband and four young kids, and occasionally writes about raising them at Assignment Mom