LOUISE Minchin broke down in tears as she was met with various surprises on her final day hosting BBC Breakfast.
The presenter, 53, first appeared on the broadcaster's flagship morning news show in 2001 and joked she was leaving to escape the gruelling early starts.
Her co-star Dan Walker kicked off her farewell by taking her outside blindfolded – to reveal a crowd gathered around her wearing masks emblazoned with her face.
She was played a video montage showing highlights from her 20 years on screen.
Louise said she was "embarrassed and humbled and tearful" by the messages.
Addressing viewers, she said: "Thank you so much for your huge support. I think particularly over the last two years as well. It's been really tough, hasn't it, and I've felt we're all part of a story together, a shared history and it's been amazing to be here."
I feel really privileged to have been in that position and have worked here all those years
Louise added: "Some people have literally grown up watching me, as they say.
"And I feel really privileged to have been in that position and have worked here all those years.
"There have been tough days, there have been tough stories. But it's been amazing and I'm really, genuinely touched by all those things that people have said."
Today she revealed her BBC pass had already been deactivated and she was locked out of the office.
The presenter confirmed in June that she would be leaving the programme.
Speaking to the Mirror this week about her decision, Louise said: "I find the early morning really difficult and another winter of the dark mornings was not what I wanted to do anymore.
"I just thought 'I can't face another winter', because I've worked out over the last 20 years there's about six weeks in the year when I go to work and it's light, and those are the six weeks that I find the easiest."
Louise has covered a string of major global news stories during her time on BBC Breakfast, including general elections, Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic and terror attacks.
She has also interviewed famous faces including the Duchess of Cambridge, singer Billie Eilish and naturalist Sir David Attenborough.
In 2019, she hosted the Wake Up To Menopause campaign after detailing how she suffered hot flushes while presenting live TV.
She also took up endurance sport after competing in a BBC Breakfast Christmas cycling challenge and has gone on to compete internationally for the GB triathlon team in her age group.
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