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The day finally arrived for Michael Strahan to say goodbye to LIVE after four years by Kelly Ripa's side. The exit was filled with drama and speculation following his announcement last month. But still, the former football player looked back on his time with the talk show fondly during Friday's broadcast.
"I am happy. I am not six feet under. Six feet, five inches above the ground. So I'm happy. It's another day," he told the room, later adding that he was feeling some jitters to leave the show to begin his full-time gig at Good Morning America. "Of course, you get nervous like this. This is a moment I didn't anticipate being here at this point. But it's here, and I'm going to enjoy it. I'm not dying. I'm still in the family. And I'm still available to come back if I'm ever called to co-host. I'm not going anywhere. I'm not gone. So, there we go."
Kelly, who had reportedly been surprised by the news of his departure, had a little fun at her now-former co-host's expense. "We came to celebrate with you. And we want to remind the audience that there is discounted merchandise at the kiosk for these collector's items," she joked.
According to Us Weekly Michael's finale episode included a flashback to some of his greatest moments and a gift of a photo memory book from Kelly. "Look at all we did together," she said. "I mean, we did everything together... I just want to say, on behalf of myself and all of us, we couldn't be prouder of you. You have given us so much joy in the mornings from your smile to your sense of humor to your horrible French accent. We really are so, so proud of you. We've achieved so much together. And I look forward to watching you every morning and seeing what else you achieved over at Good Morning America."
Michael also had a message for everyone as he ended his four-year run on the series on Friday morning. "I just want to say — and I just want to — it's very bittersweet for me. I want to say thank you to everybody. I mean, it's amazing. You come here and you guys have let me into your homes the last four years every day and I didn't know what to expect coming from sports to daytime television," he said. "And you guys opened up your hearts to me and you opened up your homes to me, and it's been so overwhelming with the response that we've had over the last four years that you guys have loved this show. And it means the world that you give us an hour of your day and what you don't realize, we get more from that hour than we really do. We sit in front of a live audience, who I always say during our commercial breaks, they are the third co-host of the show."
He continued, "The energy that they bring really makes this show work. And it is not about myself. It's not about you. It's about everybody here. "We have incredible staff here. We have, from the producers to the staff to the crew. They make sure we're always prepared that we can come out here and put on a great show for you guys."
Beginning next week, Kelly will be joined by a number of celebrity guest co-hosts, including Jimmy Kimmel, Seal, Fred Savage, and Andy Cohen.
To prepare for Andy's turn in the hot seat, check out photos of Kelly hanging in the Clubhouse, below.
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