It's the end of an era everyone. Get them hankies out.

Rumours swirled around the internet last night as yesterday's 'The Daily Show' began taping their Tuesday night broadcast, with word coming from inside the studio audience that Jon Stewart, who's made his career over the last 17 years on the show, had announced his plans to retire.

Comedy Central followed the rumouring/leaking of the news with a statement on Twitter confirming what we all feared was true.

A clearly emotional Stewart then started his show off by telling the audience and viewers of the show at home the news with a knowing smile and nod, saying that they're still 'working out the details' and that his contract is up in September but that it's all yet to be determined when his last day will actually be.

In a weird Catch 22, Stewart states that his reason for the statement is that by the time the show aired, the news would be out there and that's why he chose to pre-record his segment in front of a (stunned) audience. But if he hadn't chosen to make that statement, there would have been no 'leak' as such, and no need for him to make such a grand announcement.

Either way, we'll be very sad to see him go. Here's hoping he moves to something that keeps him on our screens even on a once-weekly basis. We'd even accept once-monthly Jon. Or anything. Just please don't go.

Via AV Club