Regis Philbin Laid to Rest at His 'Beloved' Alma Mater, Notre Dame
The legendary TV personality graduated from Notre Dame in 1953 with a sociology degree, stayed involved with the school over the years
Regis Philbin has been laid to rest.
"Regis was laid to rest at his beloved Notre Dame, following a private ceremony on Wednesday. Again, our family would like to thank everyone for the incredible love and support you've given us and for the hilarious tributes and touching memories you've shared," the Philbin family said in a statement to PEOPLE on Friday.
Philbin graduated from Notre Dame in 1953 with a sociology degree. He stayed involved with the school over the years, donating $2.75 million to the university in 2001 to create the Philbin Studio Theater, a performance art venue on campus. He was also a Notre Dame sports superfan.
"Regis regaled millions on air through the years, oftentimes sharing a passionate love for his alma mater with viewers. He will be remembered at Notre Dame for his unfailing support for the University and its mission, including the Philbin Studio Theater in our performing arts center," Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., said in a statement earlier this week. "He likewise was generous with his time and talent in support of South Bend’s Center for the Homeless and other worthy causes. Our prayers are with his wife, Joy, and their daughters and Notre Dame alumnae Joanna and J.J."
Philbin's incredible career spanned more than five decades, and he holds the Guinness World Record for most hours on U.S. television.
Philbin also served as the original host of the widely popular game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? from 1999 to 2002. In addition, the New York City native's hosting credits include Million Dollar Password, the first season of America's Got Talent, as well as a reoccurring co-host seat on Rachael Ray.
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His death came just one month before his 89th birthday.
"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," he said. "It made his audience feel like they were right alongside him — because they were."