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Oprah Winfrey Says Goodbye After 25 Years

Oprah Winfrey/ABC News(CHICAGO) -- After 25 years and 4,561 episodes, Oprah Winfrey finally said goodbye to her talk show on Wednesday in Chicago. Gone were the glitz and glamour that characterized the massive, star-studded pre-finale shows that aired over Monday and Tuesday. Although a few celebrity guests were in attendance, like Tyler Perry, the final show was an intimate affair, just Oprah at her best: with a studio audience.

Winfrey, wearing a rose-colored dress with a matching sash, opened the show by saying "There are no words to describe this moment." She took a stroll down memory lane for an hour, opening the show by discussing her first-ever episode. "There was no hair and makeup," she jokingly recalled. "No stylists. Just a Jheri Curl and a bad fur coat." She said that while she was initially happy just to have a job, she soon realized that she began to see herself in her audience, and vice-versa.

Winfrey stressed that what she wanted her audience to take from the past 4,500-plus shows was her viewers to live for their passions. She repeatedly remarked what an honor it was to be let into her viewers' homes every day.

Winfrey also delved deeply into spirituality and God, saying it's the only explanation for the miracle of her career. She also noted the importance of treating others the way they'd want to be treated, and illustrated that by showing a clip of Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple.

The host also recapped moments from past shows which dealt with addiction, sex abuse, homosexuality and domestic abuse -- praising how the series began "lifting the veil" on family dysfunction. "Little by little, we started to release the shame," she said.

Winfrey next thanked her production company's staff, "the Harpo Family," without whom she says she never would have made it. "My team and Jesus," is the answer Winfrey said she gives when asked how the show lasted 25 years.

The talk show host flashed back to other episodes that touched her, including Tyler Perry's admission that he was sexually abused in his youth -- she said it helped her deal with her similar past.

Winfrey urged her audience to be the safe haven for each other they felt she was to them, before personally welcoming her 4th grade teacher Mrs. Duncan, and thanking her for being one of the first people who made her feel validated.

Winfrey ended the show by telling fans, "I won't say goodbye, I'll just say 'Until we meet again.' To God be the Glory." And with that, an emotional Winfrey walked off the stage, kissed longtime partner Stedman Graham and shook hands with audience members, and after exiting the studio itself, with staffers, who had formed a massive receiving line.

"Oh, we did it!" Winfrey yelled triumphantly, before retiring by herself to her office, where she lifted up her dog and said "We did it, Sadie!"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio