Dec. 12, 2009 -- "For one more time, 'Good Morning America.' I'm Diane Sawyer."
After nearly 3,000 shows, Diane Sawyer said "Good Morning America" for the last time today as anchor of the broadcast. Sawyer opened the show with grateful words for her fellow anchors and the "GMA" audience.
"I'm going to try to take the advice of that immortal philosopher, Dr. Seuss, who said, 'Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.' And this morning I am beaming at all of you. My heart is smiling. And the privilege of sharing my mornings with all of you has been more than I can say."
Calling Sawyer "the queen of television," co-anchor Robin Roberts said, "Thank you for your leadership, your guidance and your love for us all."
Sawyer, 63, takes over the "World News" anchor chair Dec. 21, succeeding Charles Gibson, who will retire Dec. 18.
"I am scared to death," Stephanopoulos said. "I'm excited. I love 'GMA.' I love the 'GMA' audience."
The studio audience at today's show was composed of "GMA" staff members. "It's a wonderful thing to be here with people we know and love," Sawyer said during the show.
She also shared a personal essay, looking back on her own most memorable moments.
When her travels for "GMA" are added up, Sawyer said, "I've circled the globe 14 times."
Diane Sawyer: 'Good Morning America' Highlights
Today's show included a look back at many of Sawyer's newsmaking interviews and reports, as well as highlights of some of the funniest and most entertaining moments (Click here to watch), including a dance with John Travolta and interviews with stars from Bruce Springsteen to Will Smith.
Goodbye messages were shown from familiar faces, including former president George H.W. Bush and late-night hosts David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert. The children of 9/11 victims whom Sawyer followed for years, since they were infants, surprised her on the show.
Sawyer said Monday that this would be her final week on the show after 10 years as anchor.
"I've calculated, 2,881 shows," Sawyer said. "Roughly."
Roberts said, "It is so difficult," calling Sawyer "my Thelma. Thank you, we are going to do all things just like you this week."
Co-anchor Chris Cuomo told Sawyer, "It is amazing, I think to all of us, what we've been able to see you do on this show. It makes us all proud."
Roberts on Sawyer: 'Thank You for the Wonderful Memories'
In a September statement announcing Gibson's retirement and Sawyer's move to "World News," ABC News President David Westin praised Sawyer's varied and accomplished career.
"Diane Sawyer is the right person to succeed Charlie and build on what he has accomplished," Westin said in the statement. "She has an outstanding and varied career in television journalism, beginning with her role as a State Department correspondent and continuing at '60 Minutes,' 'Primetime Live' and, most recently, 'Good Morning America.'"
Sawyer's move to "World News" means two of the three major evening network news broadcasts will be anchored by women, a first in television history. Sawyer joined ABC News in 1989 as co-anchor of "Primetime Live."
Today's show ended with a musical tribute from the "Good Morning America" staff.
"Your legacy will continue on and on and on," Roberts said. "Thank you for the wonderful memories."
Roberts closed the show with a quote:
"The best part of life is when your family become your friends and your friends become your family."
Diane Sawyer Statistics
Travels for 'GMA':
346,205 miles flown
13.9 around the world
Diane on 'GMA':
First Day: Jan. 18, 1999
Total shows: 2,881
Diane's Emmy Awards:
Hall of Fame Member
George H.W. Bush
George W. Bush
World leaders interviewed:
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran
Bashar Al-Assad, Syria
Saud Al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia
Felipe Calderon, Mexico
Fidel Castro, Cuba
Saddam Hussein, Iraq
Hosni Mubarak, Egypt
Manuel Noriega, Panama
Boris Yeltsin, Russia