Having never missed a day of work in 25 years, Oprah took the stage for the final time Wednesday on the Oprah Winfrey show.

The pre-recorded final episode was as much of a surprise for Winfrey as it was for the guests in the audience. Many celebrities showed up to pay tribute to the queen of daytime TV that had impacted so many lives. The farewell episode stretched out over three days and much of it was kept secret by producers. Oprah gasped with the audience as stars such as Madonna, Tom Hanks, Michael Jordan and Will Smith showed up at the United Center to see her off.

Oprah was tearful as she spoke to the audience of her joy in doing the show for two and a half decades. She spoke about the honor she felt each day and she thanked her fans and viewers for 25 years of support. She said they had been a safe harbor for her and that she hoped they could do the same for someone else. In the end she refused to say goodbye and only said “Until we meet again.” She closed the show by going through the audience and giving out her email address while promising to read as many as possible.

For many, the end of Oprah’s show is much like losing a part of daily life. Fans have been tuning in for 25 years to share, learn, grow and triumph together. Many opted to have viewing parties to bring closure and commemorate what they view as the end of an era.