Couric bids 'Today' teary farewell

May 31, 2006 at 1:23 PM

NEW YORK, May 31 (UPI) -- "Today" show co-anchor Katie Couric said a teary goodbye to her NBC colleagues in New York Wednesday calling them "lifelong friends."

Couric described her emotions during her final appearance on the Peacock Network after 15 years with "Today," as "happy, sad and completely out of control," People magazine reported.

She is leaving to take over the anchor duties for the "CBS Evening News" and will be replaced in the fall by Meredith Vieira, who is vacating her seat on ABC's "The View" for "Today."

Couric's longtime "Today" partner, Matt Lauer, started out Wednesday's three-hour tribute with the words: "Farewell friend."

A number of notables from politicians to entertainers taped messages to Couric including former President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Sting and Julie Andrews.

"Dateline's" Stone Phillips serenaded her at the piano and weatherman Al Roker teared up during tributes to Couric's late husband and sister, who both died of cancer.

Couric's own farewell was not without emotion as she noted, "They're not just coworkers. They're lifelong friends."

"And I know I'll never have a partner like you," she told Lauer, "because I'll never be working with a partner again."

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