The anchor of Shepard Smith Reporting announced that Friday would mark his final show with Fox News.
Smith asked the conservative network to break from his contract, which he had extended in 2018, in order to "begin a new chapter," the reporter said in a statement from Fox News. A rotating anchor will temporarily replace him in his 3 p.m. Eastern time slot until a new program is announced.
"After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged [my request to leave]," Smith said. "The opportunities afforded this guy from small town Mississippi have been many. It's been an honor and a privilege to report the news each day to our loyal audience in context and with perspective, without fear or favor."
"I've worked with the most talented, dedicated and focused professionals I know and I'm proud to have anchored their work each day -- I will deeply miss them," he concluded.
Jay Wallace, the president of Fox News, praised Smith's record in a statement.
"Shep is one of the premier newscasters of his generation and his extraordinary body of work is among the finest journalism in the industry," Wallace said. "His integrity and outstanding reporting from the field helped put FOX News on the map and there is simply no better breaking news anchor who has the ability to transport a viewer to a place of conflict, tragedy, despair or elation through his masterful delivery."
Smith began working at Fox News in 1996. He came out as gay in 2017, becoming the only out host on the network. Smith, particularly after the 2016 election, refrained from editorializing his news delivery, which was sometimes critical of the Trump administration.
Smith spoke to the "polarized" nature of the country in his final Friday sign-off. "Even in our current polarized nation it's my hope that facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists thrive," he said.
Watch it below.
\u201cFull video: Shepard Smith's final sign off from Fox News\u201d