It’s an end of an era! On Tuesday, Dec. 11,  Kathie Lee Gifford announced that she is leaving the Today show after more than a decade hosting the four-hour morning show. Kathie made the announcement during the show’s 10 o’clock hour and she shared a heartfelt goodbye with her millions of viewers.

“Okay, I have something to share with everybody. It’s bittersweet as these things always are, but I have been here almost 11 years,” Kathie, 65, said on the show. “Thought I would stay one year. Something happened along the way and fell in love with a beautiful Egyptian goddess and when it’s our 11th anniversary I will be leaving the Today show. I know. It’s an exciting time for me and I’m thrilled about the projects coming up, but it’s also hard is because the reason I stayed longer than a year is because I love everybody here. I have been in this business 20 years and never worked with a more beautiful group of people who just give, give, give every day, four hours of live television five days a week. We laugh and support one another and know each other’s kids names and know when somebody is having a colonoscopy.”

Kathie also shared a heartfelt message to her co-host, sidekick, and best friend, Hoda Kotb. “We do life and nobody more so than my Hoda. It’s going to be the same as my Regis. I’m closer to him now than after 15 years together,” Kathie said. “You don’t share that life together and not be changed forever by it. I love you, Hoda mama. First, you were just Hoda, remember?”

Earlier this morning, NBC News chief Noah Oppenheim announced Kathie’s departure in a memo sent to NBC employees and he explained the reason why she’s moving on. “As we all know, Kathie Lee’s plate has been overflowing lately with film, music and book projects,” read the memo, obtained by Deadline. “And after giving us eleven extraordinary years, she’s decided to focus her attention full-time on those other creative endeavors.”

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