Howard Stern Pays Tribute to Eric the Actor ... He 'Loved Life'

9/22/2014 7:30 AM PDT

Howard Stern gave a touching send off to beloved wack packer Eric the Actor ... and for the first time, gave his honest feelings about the show regular.

Howard opened his show Monday with the news of Eric's death ... and for the next hour Lynch's famous friends called into the show to offer their condolences.

The show also played some of his most famous moments -- including his famous refusal to be attached to balloons and flown in the air.

As we previously reported ... Eric was rushed to a hospital this weekend after he started experiencing pain in his chest -- and his manager says his organs gave out after he was admitted.