KELLY Ripa fought back tears paying tribute late co-host and friend Regis Philbin.
The famous television host passed away June 24 from natural causes.
Regis was 88-years-old.
A heartbroken Kelly said at the beginning of the Live with Kelly and Ryan: “Mark [Consuelos] and I were lucky enough to have all of our children with us this past weekend on Saturday, so we were all together when we heard this horrible news.
“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.”
Ryan added, “I got a text in the morning on this day over the weekend, and I actually didn’t believe it. … It was before the news came out, and I sent you a note and I said, ‘I hope this is just a rumor and not true.’ For a minute, I convinced myself it was just a rumor, and then of course we saw the news.”
Following the news of Regis' passing, Kelly and Ryan posted on Instagram: “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 every day on Live for more than 23 years.
"We were beyond lucky to have him as a mentor in our careers and aspire every day 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.”
Kelly's predecessor, Kathie Lee Gifford, also had a heartfelt message for the television legend.
She wrote: “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."
Regis is most famous as the long-time host of Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee (and later Live! with Regis and Kelly).
He also the most well-known host of ABC"s long-running show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
Regis’ family released a statement following his death: "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.
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