Photo Credit: David Shankbone

Outside of Aaron Spelling, few people have shaped television the way we know it today as Regis Philbin. He has been the standard for daytime television for decades. The show he’s the most famous for, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee lasted over 20 years and began over 30 years ago in the mid-80s. And there’s the possibility it may have never occurred as viewers didn’t care for him in the 60s when he replaced Steve Allen when his show ended in’64 and he lasted just a couple months on air. Then there was the time he walked off of a job during a live taping in the 60s, working on the Joey Bishop Show as his sidekick after learning they were trying to push him out anyway.

Known as the hardest working man on television that’s logged the most on air hours in American tv history, Philbin, who died at 88 at his Connecticut home is a man that’s going to be missed by multiple generations of tv watchers. As a testament to his charm, he’s responsible for single-handedly carrying a broadcast network with Who Wants to be a Millionaire bringing in over 2/3rds of ABC’s operating profit in 2000, not long after the show began. And it started because his wife told him he needed something to do with his time.

“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 wrote in a statement to People. “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 condolences have been rolling in from those both in the industry to admirers of his like President Trump who tweeted, “One of the greats in the history of television, Regis Philbin has passed on to even greater airwaves, at 88. He was a fantastic person, and my friend. He kept telling me to run for President. Holds the record for “most live television”, and he did it well. Regis, we love you….”

His former co-host and the man taking his place on Live with Kelly and Ryan posted their statement on Instagram saying, “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. 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.”