Chris Matthews abruptly resigns from MSNBC following controversial comments

The anchor apologized for sexist remarks before unexpectedly signing off.

Longtime MSNBC host Chris Matthews began his Monday night show with his resignation, following controversial comments he made over the last few weeks and new allegations that he had previously made inappropriate remarks to a woman appearing on his show.

Matthews, 74, addressed his audience for about two minutes at the top of Monday's show before abruptly signing off, surprising viewers.

"Let me start with my headline tonight: I'm retiring," Matthews announced at the top of the show. "This is the last 'Hardball' on MSNBC."

Matthews came under fire in recent days for comparing U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders's campaign victories to the Nazis invading France and for an interview with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren Tuesday after the South Carolina debate in which critics said he treated Warren disparagingly over her attacks on Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

On Saturday, political reporter Laura Bassett published an essay in GQ Magazine in which she alleged Matthews made inappropriate comments to her while she was in his show's makeup room in 2016.

Matthews apologized for his behavior and said he made the decision to end his run after nearly 23 years following a conversation with MSNBC management.

"Compliments on a woman's appearance some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were OK were never OK -- not then and certainly not today," he said. "For making such comments in the past, I'm sorry."

Steve Kornacki took over Monday's "Hardball" show following the first commercial break.

Bassett tweeted out a response after Matthews announced his resignation, saying, "All I gotta say is... it’s about time."