Ghostly Regis Philbin is just a hollow husk of his once vibrant self — and pals fear the 117-pound TV star has only months to live!
Now 85, the ex-Who Wants to Be a Millionaire host’s frightfully fragile appearance stunned fans during a recent outing with his 75-year-old wife, Joy, in Beverly Hills.
One insider claimed gaunt Philbin has become “shockingly frail” and desperately wants to mend fence with his former Live! co-host Kelly Ripa after abruptly quitting the show five years ago over a pay dispute.
“He looks like he’s aged about 40 years,” says top New York internist Dr. Stuart Fischer, who hasn’t treated Philbin. “Unfortunately, he doesn’t look healthy. He looks so drawn; there’s very little muscle mass.”
Philbin has been battered by a slew of health crises over the past two decades.
In 1993, he underwent emergency angioplasty to unblock a heart vessel; and in 2007, Philbin went under the knife for triple-bypass heart surgery. Then in 2009, he had a hip replaced, and the following year, he had a potentially fatal calf blood clot removed.
Philbin is also continuously fighting battles against high cholesterol, high blood pressure and skin cancer.
Five years ago, he had a procedure to determine the cause of his severe acid reflux, which “is a risk factor for esophageal cancer,” says Dr. Fischer. “Usually, people are just given a medicine for acid reflux.”
Philbin’s career has floundered since leaving Live! He signed on to host the brand-new sports-themed talk show Crowd Goes Wild in 2013, but crippling ratings torpedoed the program after just 40 weeks.
Even more disheartening, he watched his Live! replacement Michael Strahan bask in critical cheers for his easygoing personality.
He’s desperately tried to recapture some of the magic he once sparked with former Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee co-star Kathie Lee Gifford with sporadic appearances on Today. But Philbin sightings are few and far between — usually just once a month, although he occasionally fills in when her statuesque sidekick Hoda Kotb is on vacation.
Sadly, however, Joy and his pals’ primary focus isn’t on Philbin’ sagging career, it’s on keeping him alive.
“You can’t help but fear Regis seeing the sun setting on his career is working against his health,” worried an insider. “And it’s going to come crashing down on him!”
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