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Michael Strahan bids farewell to 'Live!' after four years as co-host

"It's bittersweet," Strahan admitted.

By Karen Butler
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Michael Strahan bids farewell to 'Live!' after four years as co-host
Michael Strahan speaks to a client at the 2016 BTIG Commissions for Charity Day in New York City on May 10, 2016. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, May 13 (UPI) -- Michael Strahan has served his last day as co-host of the morning program Live! with Kelly & Michael.

Strahan left the chat show after four years to become a full-time contributor on Good Morning America in September.

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Co-host Kelly Ripa stayed off Live! for several days last month because she was upset she was not notified about Strahan's departure until it was announced to the media. When she returned to work, she congratulated Strahan on his new job on the air.

A new permanent host for the show has not been named yet. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel will appear alongside Ripa on Monday's edition of the program.

Strahan received a standing ovation when he and Ripa walked out on stage, smiling Friday morning.

Ripa pulled out his chair for him so he could sit down, then hugged him.

"It is your final day on the show. We all came today to celebrate you and we want to remind the audience that there is a run on discounted merchandise at the kiosk for these collector's items," Ripa joked, holding up a Live! with Kelly & Michael mug as Strahan laughed.

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"It's a great day, though. ... It's bittersweet," Strahan admitted. "Of course, you get nervous like this. I've done this for four years. So, this is a moment that I didn't anticipate being here, at least at this point, but it's here and we're 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. So, I'm not going anywhere. I'm not gone, so here we are."

Strahan's last Live! show included interviews with actor Matt Bomer and professional basketball player Carmelo Anthony, as well as highlight reels of his funniest and most touching moments on the program.

Before he left, Ripa presented Strahan with a photo book to remind him of their time working together. The pair also enjoyed a glass of champagne before his exit.

"We couldn't be prouder of you," Ripa told Strahan. "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 achieve over at Good Morning America."

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She then kissed him on the cheek.

"I just want to say thank you to everybody," Strahan said. "It's amazing. I've come here and you guys let me into your homes the last four years, every day. I didn't know what to expect, coming from sports to daytime television. 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 is that we get more from that hour than you really do. ... We have an incredible staff here. From the producers to the staff to the crew, they make sure we are always prepared, that we come out here and put on a great show for you guys. And I've got to say, we love you, we appreciate you. I love you and appreciate you."

As the show wrapped up and music began to play he turned to his co-host for the last time and said: "Kelly, you are the best. I love you, baby. I love you."

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