Regis Philbin struggled with limitations brought on by the coronavirus pandemic in the months leading up to his death, according to his former longtime “Live!” co-host Kathie Lee Gifford.
The iconic television personality died in July of heart disease and his manner of death was ruled natural, the Chief Medical Examiner Office in Connecticut confirmed to Fox News at the time. He was 88.
Gifford, who remained a lifelong friend of Philbin in the years after they co-hosted “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee” from 1985 to 2000, appeared on “The Talk” on Friday where she discussed Philbin’s final months.
According to Gifford, 67, Philbin was heartbroken over the coronavirus pandemic.
“He had been depressed in the weeks and months earlier, because of the COVID,” she said (via People). “Regis couldn’t perform anywhere, nobody was out and about, he couldn’t be Regis for people, you know.”
The death of a close friend who succumbed to the coronavirus also weighed on Philbin, she said.
Kathie Lee Gifford has revealed that Regis Philbin struggled with the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic in the months leading up to his death.
(Michael Stewart/GC Images)
Gifford guessed that Philbin was suffering from “depression,” adding that the late TV personality “lived to make people happy.”
In the hours following Philbin’s death, Gifford took to her Instagram to remember her “precious friend.” She said she had “no words to fully express” her love for Philbin, and she called his life “legendary.”
“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,” she wrote.
Gifford’s statement continued: “It brings me great comfort knowing that he had a personal relationship with his Lord that brought him great peace. I send all the love in my heart to Joy, to his children, to the rest of his family and to the innumerable people he touched over his legendary life. There has never been anyone like him. And there never will be.”
Philbin and Gifford began their stint on “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee” in 1985. The co-hosts who captured Americans’ hearts with their daily morning banter had a 15-year-run until Gifford left the show in 2000.
“No arguments, no harsh words in all this time,” Philbin said of his experience working alongside Gifford to a theater audience in 2000. “Well, there was the time I didn’t talk to her for two weeks. Didn’t want to interrupt her.”
After a tryout period for a replacement, Kelly Ripa, then best known for her acting in the soap drama “All My Children,” filled the slot. Philbin departed the show in 2011. Although he said Ripa took his exit personally, he explained on “Larry King Now” that his decision was due to him getting older and that it “wasn’t right for me anymore.”