President Donald Trump posted a tribute to Regis Philbin on Saturday afternoon shortly after news of passing broke. Philbin's family released a public statement on Saturday, revealing that he had died of natural causes on Friday, according to a report by PEOPLE. The president remembered him as "one of the greats in the history of television."
Trump wrote that Philbin had "passed on to even greater airwaves," adding: "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... And to Joy, his wonderful wife who he loved so much, my warmest condolences!!!"
....And to Joy, his wonderful wife who he loved so much, my warmest condolences!!!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2020
Fans responded with their own mournful messages about Philbin, though many criticized the president's eulogy. Many were skeptical of the president's claim that Philbin supported his presidency, though in fact he did praise Trump in 2017, just a few weeks after he took office.
"I didn't believe it was going to happen, but he made it," Philbin told TMZ at the time. "Well, so far I think he's done quite well, don't you? He's getting things done that were never done before. Anyway, who knows. I'll give him a little more time."
Philbin was an integral part of the New York City entertainment industry, where Trump previously hosted his own reality show, The Apprentice. During his years as a talk show host, a game show host and an actor, Philbin crossed paths with just about everyone in the entertainment industry, and all were mourning him on Saturday.
"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," read the statement from Philbin's family. "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."
Philbin broke into the business at the entry level in 1955 when he completed a stint in the U.S. Navy, and became a page on The Tonight Show. From there, he rose through the ranks to become an actor, a host of regional programming and finally a household name. Philbin is survived by three daughters and his wife.