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Kelly Ripa close to tears as she talks about Regis Philbin's tragic death

The star co-hosted Live with Kelly and Regis with the late TV star for ten years

Hanna Fillingham

Kelly Ripa was overcome with emotion on Monday morning as she paid tribute to former co-host Regis Philbin on Live with Kelly and Ryan. The All My Children star had co-hosted Live with Kelly and Regis for ten years between 2001 and 2011, and opened up about his passing at the beginning of the show. Ryan Seacrest began the programme by saying: "It's been a difficult and emotional day for all of us at Live. Kelly, I know a tough weekend for you especially because you worked with our dear friend, a friend who passed away over the weekend, Regis Philbin."

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Kelly Ripa was overcome with emotion as she paid tribute to Regis Philbin

He continued: "A legend on television, a best friend to so many of us who didn't even know him across the country." Kelly, dressed in black, was close to tears as she told Ryan: "I've got to tell you Ryan, as you know I was communicating with you.

"Mark [Consuelos] and I were lucky enough to have all our children with us this past weekend on Saturday, so we were all together when we heard this horrible news.

"As people get older, you always know that certain things are inevitable and passing away is one of those things. But Regis is one of those people we all believed I think, would somehow not."

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Kelly worked with Regis on Live! between 2001 and 2011

Regis passed away on Friday due to "natural causes" and Kelly and Ryan released a joint statement over the weekend. It read: "We are beyond saddened to learn about the loss of Regis Philbin. He was the ultimate class act, bringing his laughter and joy into our homes everyday on Live for more than 23 years. We were beyond lucky to have him as a mentor in our careers and aspire everyday to fill his shoes on the show.

"We send our deepest love and condolences to his family and hope they can find some comfort in knowing he left the world a better place. Kelly and Ryan."

Regis' former co-host Kathie Lee Gifford also paid a heartfelt tribute. The star shared a picture of the pair in the studio together, and wrote: "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.

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Regis tragically passed away on Friday

"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."

Regis' family released a statement via Us Weekly to break the sad news, which read: "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.

"His family and friends are forever grateful for the time we got to spend with him — for his warmth, his legendary sense of humour, 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."

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