Veteran television newsman Chris Matthews shocked viewers when he announced his retirement from MSNBC on Monday.
The 74-year-old newsman abruptly announced the news at the start of the latest episode of his nightly political talk show, Hardball, following a string of recent controversies and on-air gaffes.
Matthews -- who has hosted Hardball for over 20 years and has become one of the most recognizable figures in American political journalism -- started the show with the news, calling it the night's main headline.
"This is the last Hardball on MSNBC, and obviously this isn't for lack of interest in politics," Matthews said. "I've loved every minute of my 20 years as host of Hardball. Every morning I read the papers and I'm gung-ho to get to work. Not many people have had this privilege."
While Matthews was reportedly expected to retire sometime in the near future, the Hardball host said the decision to retire immediately came "after a conversation with MSNBC."
"The younger generation is out there ready to take the reins," Matthews said. "We see them in politics, in the media, in fighting for the causes. They have improved the workplace. We're talking about better standards than we grew up with -- fair standards."
"Compliments on a women's appearance that some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were OK, were never OK," Matthews said. "Not then and certainly not today. And for making such comments in the past, I'm sorry."
Following Matthews' announcement, the newsman was replaced by Steve Kornacki, who hosted the remainder of Monday's show.
"That was a lot to take in, just now, I'm sure," Kornacki said. "I'm sure you're still absorbing that, and I am, too. Chris Matthews is a giant. He's a legend."
"It's been an honor for me to work with him, to sit in here on occasion. And I know how much you meant to him, and I know how much he meant to you," Kornacki shared. "I think you're going to miss him, and I know I'm going to."
Matthews will be replaced for the foreseeable future by a rotating selection of hosts, according to THR.
The veteran anchor's announcement and apology comes shortly after a previous apology last month when he made an analogy that compared Bernie Sanders' win in the Nevada caucus with Nazi Germany's invasion and occupation of France during WWII.
Matthews also recently took heat when he mistook Jaime Harrison, the Democratic challenger to Lindsay Graham's Senate seat in South Carolina, for Republican Senator Tim Scott, also of South Carolina. Both men are black.