Since the passing of legendary TV icon Regis Philbin, his wife Joy and daughters Jennifer and Joanna are breaking their silence. The longtime television host died on July 24 of heart disease and since then fans and celebrities alike are all sharing their sweet thoughts and memories about Philbin. One quality his family is highlighting is how special the 88-year-old made everyone feel, even if they were an audience member or viewer.
"He let everyone into his life," his family said in a statement to PEOPLE. "He turned every little daily annoyance and happiness into a story, and he shared all those little stories with people in a joyful and conversational way. It made his audience feel like they were right alongside him — because they were."
Philbin currently holds the Guinness World Record for most hours on U.S. television with his career stretching over the course of five decades. "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," his family said in a previous statement. "We thank his fans and admirers for their incredible support over his 60-year career and ask for privacy as we mourn his loss."
With such a longstanding career, Joy, Jennifer and Joanna didn't fail to mention his most memorable moment during his 60 years on TV. "The one that he always felt made his career was when he was Joey Bishop's sidekick, on The Joey Bishop Show," they stated, "Regis worshiped Bing Crosby, and one day when Bing was the guest, Joey told Bing that Regis was a huge fan and goaded Regis into singing something. Regis sang 'Pennies From Heaven' right to Bing, and it helped get him his first recording contract."
Philbin was born in The Bronx, New York on Aug. 23, 1931. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 1953 with a sociology degree, he served in the U.S. Navy, where he got a taste for broadcasting. His first known job in the entertainment industry was a page for the Tonight Show in 1955. Philbin hosted his first talk show in San Diego during the early 1960s. From there, he became the face of shows like Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.