Wheel of Fortune viewers are ‘still crying’ after watching Pat Sajak bid farewell on his final episode

pat sajak at the Premiere of Perfect Stranger at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City
Pat filmed his final episode of Wheel of Fortune after more than 40 years on the show. Pic credit: © Mcgee/Globe Photos, Inc.

Weeknight television will never be the same.

After more than four decades on the air, Pat Sajak has officially signed off as the host of Wheel of Fortune.

The 77-year-old TV legend bid adieu to Wheel of Fortune on Friday night, telling viewers that “the time has come to say goodbye.”

During his final episode at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California, Pat appeared in throwback footage from 1981, his first year on the job.

Producers took time out of Pat’s final episode to allow him to say goodbye to the show and its fans, and his farewell speech had Wheel watchers wiping away tears.

“It’s been an incredible privilege to be invited into millions of homes night after night, year after year, decade after decade,” Pat told viewers.

Pat added that he felt a responsibility to keep Wheel of Fortune a “safe place for family fun” for the past 41 years, and his fans agree that’s exactly what he did.

Wheel of Fortune viewers react to Pat Sajak’s final speech

Wheel of Fortune shared footage of Pat’s exit speech on Instagram and YouTube, where fans of the show expressed their sadness at seeing the Chicago, Illinois native go.

Many of Pat’s fans confessed they shed some tears watching his final farewell.

“I don’t know how I managed to not cry over that,” admitted one of Pat’s admirers.

“That was a beautiful speech. Thanks for the memories, Pat Sajak. We’ll miss you,” their comment continued. “Good luck in your future endeavors. Hopefully Ryan Seacrest can make as many memories as you did, Pat…”

Another YouTuber admitted, “Everyone who was watching this episode must have shed a few tears, pointing out the impact Pat has had on families across the world, creating a “place for people to come together.”

YouTubers comment on pat sajak's last episode
Pic credit: @wheeloffortune/YouTube

Another Wheel watcher revealed they were “still crying” after watching Pat’s speech.

“I laughed a lot, cried sometimes but every day made sure I tuned in at 630 to see Pat and Vanna. This is the greatest show on TV and I will miss mr Pat so much,” their comment read.

One Wheel of Fortune fan opted to share a quote from Dr. Seuss reading, “‘Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.'”

Pat Sajak honors Vanna White, his ‘professional other half’

After 8,000 episodes across 41 seasons, Pat has certainly made an indelible mark in game show history.

Pat expressed his gratitude not only to Wheel of Fortune fans but also to his longtime co-host, Vanna White.

“Finally, to my professional other half,” Pat said of Vanna. “We’ve seen a lot of changes in our lives over the years, but we’ve always been there for each other.”

“While I’ll very much miss working with her, I take solace that we live about five miles apart,” Pat added. “So we’ll see plenty of each other.”

Ryan Seacrest will become the new face of Wheel of Fortune in September

Now that Pat is headed for retirement, his successor, Ryan Seacrest, will take over the reins later this year when Season 42 debuts in September.

Ryan will have the honor of working alongside Vanna White, 67, who recently admitted that she isn’t quite ready to hang up her job as Wheel of Fortune’s illustrious tile-turner.

Wheel of Fortune fans have expressed mixed feelings about Ryan hosting the show.

Despite Ryan’s longevity and success as a television host, critics have protested his superseding Pat Sajak.

Ryan, 49, is ready to tackle the position, knowing that he isn’t going to replace Pat but will hopefully earn the respect of Wheel of Fortune viewers later this year.

Earlier this year, Ryan told PEOPLE, “Well, no one can ever do what Pat has done. He is incredible.”

“He has made that show just something so very special for so long, and he has done such a seamless, remarkable job, so no one can be him,” he added.

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