Ann Curry bid a tearful, emotional goodbye as co-host on NBC's "Today" show Thursday morning.
"For all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I'm sorry I couldn't carry the ball over the finish line. But man, I did try," Curry said, her voice shaking.
"I never expected this is how I would leave this couch after 15 years, but I am so grateful," she said.
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Curry's co-host Matt Lauer said she had "the biggest heart in the business."
"You put that on display every single day for almost 20 years. Most importantly, you've made us better, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts," he said.
Curry had earlier confirmed to USA Today that she was leaving the long-running morning show after one year as co-host.
The veteran journalist will get a new multi-year contract, remain a "Today" anchor-at-large and lead a seven-person staff to produce news specials for NBC News franchises, she told USA Today and reiterated on Thursday's "Today" broadcast.
No announcement has been made on who will replace Curry in the co-host seat.
Her exit comes after weeks of media speculation about the 55-year-old journalist's fate. ABC's "Good Morning America" broke NBC's 16-year ratings winning streak in April.
"We had a many-year run in first place in total viewers, and it got snapped, but since then, every week in the past month we've started a new streak," NBC News President Steve Capus told USA Today. "This isn't about streaks; it's about consistent performance, and we want to continue to build the 'Today' show."
Curry also dismissed the notion that ratings were a factor in her "Today" departure.
"I know I am not to blame for the ratings worries," she told USA Today. "And my bosses have said to me there are many factors involved."
The rumors that swirled around her exit "hurt deeply," Curry said. She said she had walked into Capus' office "expecting to say goodbye," but was told "there is far more to do."
Curry was Lauer's third co-host, following Meredith Vieira and Katie Couric.
Selected Reading: USA Today