Richard Wilkins has delivered a very emotional farewell to Karl Stefanovic on Thursday's TODAY show, just one day after the host announced he was stepping down from the breakfast post.
Wilkins heartfelt tribute raised eyebrows after the entertainment reporter admitted he sometimes felt "pressure" working alongside Stefanovic, who had experienced "difficult times" over the past 12 months.
"Karl Stefanovic has been a great host of this TV show for 14 years," Wilkins began. "I've had the honour and pleasure and pressure sometimes of working alongside him for almost everyday of that time.
"I can tell you from the heart there is nobody who has worked harder for this show than Karl."
"I have always described him as an intoxicating mix of world's best broadcaster and a naughty schoolboy."
"It's no secret that the past year or so have been in many ways difficult times for Karl. But I can say that every morning he's walked into the studio with energy and passion, bringing ideas to make the show bigger and better.
"He always strived to deliver the best program he possibly could.
"Karl says that this is the best show on television and I couldn't agree more. He's also said he never thought he'd be good enough to host the Today show for so long. Well mate, you better believe it because you are and you did."
"It is a tireless gig and it comes with an enormous amount of scrutiny," he added.
"Karl has asked us to pass on his thanks to you, the viewer, for tuning in. And Karl, on behalf of all your friends and colleagues here at Nine, and your millions of fans around the country, we wish you all the best.
"Our mate may have left the Today show but he's not leaving Nine. Karl is due to finish his show, This Time Next Year, in February and he's looking forward to being back on air later next year.
"Karl, thank you for all the great work. You have notched up a massive number of flying hours. You didn't just wake up with Today, Today woke up with you. Good luck, mate"