TV host and wrestling fan Regis Philbin has passed away at the age of 88. Philbin’s family confirmed his death in a statement shared on People. According to the statement, Philbin passed away in the night due to natural causes. He was one month shy of his 89th birthday.
Philbin had a 60-year career in TV, starting in 1955. He was the host of numerous shows such as Live! With Regis and Kelly, Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee, and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
Philbin was a wrestling fan and a friend of “Classy” Freddie Blassie. He often had wrestlers and wrestling personalities on his talk shows.
“I’ve been a fan of sports entertainment my whole life,” said Philbin on a congratulatory message he sent to WWE RAW when it made 1000 episodes. “When I started my first talk show in Sand Diego, many years ago, it was with The Destroyer. He was tough, fun – one of my favorite guests – and I’ve been hooked ever since.”
WWE also issued a statement on Philbin’s passing and extending their condolence to his family, friends, and fans.
WWE Women’s superstar Natalya also paid tribute to Philbin, sharing a story on social media about Philbin and her mother Ellie Hart.
Ellie had been a fan of Philbin and had made a doll for him. In response, Philbin sent her a note saying he had been a big fan of Natalya’s father and Ellie’s husband WWE Hall of Famer Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart.
According to Natalya, Philbin’s note had also said that he had loved The Anvil’s “evil laugh”.
WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan also posted a tribute to Philbin. Hogan had been a frequent guest on Philbin’s shows. According to Hogan, Philbin’s shows were the only ones he was “always excited to do.”
“Regis was a real pro,” wrote Hogan. “ I could always count on him sneak attacking me every time I was a guest on the show.”
He also posted a video of himself as a guest on the show “fighting” with Philbin, where he gave Philbin the wrestling compliment of knowing how to work.