After decades as host, Pat Sajak said goodbye to "Wheel of Fortune" Friday evening.

In his final episode, which aired June 7, Sajak, 77, shared a special message to the millions who have tuned in for decades.

"I've always felt that the privilege came with a responsibility to keep this daily half hour a safe place for family fun. No social issues, no politics, nothing embarrassing, I hope. Just a game. But gradually it became more than that: a place where kids learn their letters, where people from other countries hone their English skills, where families came together along with friends and neighbors and entire generations," he said. "What an honor to have played even a small part in all that. Thank you for allowing me into your lives."

Sajak first told contestants to "spin that wheel" in 1981 when the show aired on network daytime television. The syndicated version, still airing today, debuted in 1983, and he has also hosted "Celebrity Wheel of Fortune" since 2021.

Read more about Sajak's final episode of "Wheel of Fortune" below.

 

What did Sajak say in his final episode?

During his farewell, Sajak spoke about how much he appreciated meeting so many different contestants during his time helming the show.

"Every time we taped a show, I met three new people from all parts of this wonderful country -- and the world -- who were kind and considerate, who rooted for each other, who took great pride in talking about their family, their hometown, their friends, their schools, their jobs, even their pets," he said. "In the end, they were the real stars of the show."

He added, "I genuinely like these people, and I'll miss the chance to meet more of them."

Sajak also shared his thanks for the "Wheel of Fortune" staff and crew, describing the "joy" he said he experienced working with them.

"Your skills and dedication and good humor made this a place I always wanted to be," he said. "Everyone pulled together and cared about each other and about this show. It worked because you made it work. It looked great because you made it look great -- and you made my job so much easier."

 

He emphasized that their work "never went unnoticed by me, nor unappreciated," and said he will miss them.

Sajak's message for Vanna White

Sajak also shared a special note of gratitude for his co-host Vanna White during his final episode.

"To my professional other half, dear Vanna, like me, she takes the show very seriously, but not herself," he began. "I shudder to think what these 40-plus years might have been like had they brought someone in all full of themselves, playing the prima donna role. Vanna is as sweet and unassuming as she seems."

"We've seen a lot of changes in each other's lives over the years, but we've always been there for each other. I want to thank her for her lovely goodbye on yesterday's show."

In White's emotional tribute during Sajak's penultimate episode, which aired June 6, she praised her longtime friend and colleague for helping her to feel "so comfortable" and "so confident" when she started.

 

"As the years have gone by, we've grown up on television, but we've also shared so much more behind the scenes," she said. "And as much fun as we had on camera, those memories, milestones and life events we shared with our families outside the studio are my favorite."

She concluded, "What an incredible and unforgettable journey we've had. And I've enjoyed every minute of it with you. You're like a brother to me, and I consider you a true lifelong friend, who I will always adore. I love you, Pat."

 

Sajak said in Friday's episode that the two will still very much be part of each other's lives following his exit from the show. "While I'll very much miss working with her, I take solace in the fact that we live about 5 miles apart, so we'll see plenty of each other, but I will miss our nightly closes and her laughter and her good nature," he said.

The puzzleboard queen has signed on through at least the 2025-2026 season, so fans won't have to worry about saying goodbye to her just yet.

Sajak on the 'best part' of his hosting gig

The longtime host reflected on what he said was the "the best part of the last couple of years" -- working alongside his daughter Maggie Sajak, the game show's social correspondent. He noted his appreciation for the chance to watch his daughter "grow in her role and as a person."

 

"Maggie is liked around here because she's talented and smart and funny, but she's loved around here because she's kind and caring and humble," he said.

In a recent sit-down interview with his daughter, Sajak said he'd "had time to sort of get used to" his departure and that it's "been a little bit wistful and all that."

"...But I'm enjoying it and taking it all in and reflecting on the great run," he added.

During his address on his final episode, he also expressed his gratitude for his son Patrick Sajak, as well as his wife Lesly Brown.

Speaking about his wife, he shared, "She's been my wife and life partner for 35 years. I love her for who she is and what we are as a team."

Who is replacing Pat Sajak as the new "Wheel of Fortune" host?

Sajak first announced he was leaving "Wheel of Fortune" in June 2023, saying at the time that "the time has come" and adding that "it's been a wonderful ride."

Sony Pictures Television also revealed at the time that Sajak would stay on as a consultant for three years following his final season of "Wheel of Fortune."

Just weeks after the announcement, Ryan Seacrest was named as his replacement.

The "American Idol" host said in a statement that he was "truly humbled" to be stepping into the footsteps of the "legendary" game show host.

"I can say, along with the rest of America, that it's been a privilege and pure joy to watch Pat and Vanna on our television screens for an unprecedented 40 years, making us smile every night and feel right at home with them," Seacrest wrote.

Seacrest will take over as host when "Wheel of Fortune" returns for season 42 this fall.