Last weekend, the world lost a true legend when talk show host Regis Philbin passed away at the age of 88. Now, the daughter of his longtime cohost Kathie Lee Gifford is speaking out to pay tribute to him.
Cassidy Gifford, 26, took to Instagram one day after Philbin’s death to post a photo of him and her father Frank Gifford, who died in August of 2015.
“The laughter I know you two are sharing together again in heaven is palpable… love you forever, Reeg,” Cassidy captioned the image.
Kathie Lee Gifford, who cohosted “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee!” with Philbin from 1985 until 2001, also took to Instagram to pay tribute to him.
“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,” Gifford wrote on Instagram. “There has never been anyone like him. And there never will be.”
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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. 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.
Days after Philbin’s death, Gifford spoke out to recall the last time she saw him, as she recently went to visit him at his home in Connecticut.
“I was just so grateful the Lord gave me that final time,” Gifford said. “And it was so precious because when I talked to Joy the day that I found out right after he had passed, she said, ‘Kathie he hadn’t laughed in a long, long time.’ She said, ‘I was so worried about him.'”
“I think he was like Frank,” she added. “He was just ready, you know? … And she said, ‘The day that we came to have lunch with you was the last time I heard him laugh.’ That will forever be a precious gift the Lord gave me, that I got to laugh again with one of my best friends in all my lifetime.”
Though Gifford enjoyed this visit immensely, she could tell that Philbin’s age was starting to show.
“I sensed much more fragility than I’d seen in him since the last time in January out in Los Angeles,” Gifford explained. “We sat right here on my screened porch, and we laughed ourselves sick. We always picked up right where we left off. … After they left I just thought to myself, ‘Lord, is that the last time I’m going to see my friend?’ Because he was failing, I could tell.”
This piece originally appeared in UpliftingToday.com and is used by permission.
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