So hard to say goodbye! News broke on Tuesday, Feb. 10, that Jon Stewart will be hanging up his hat at The Daily Show

The Comedy Central star, 52, has sat at the satirical news program's anchor desk for almost 17 years. He addressed the career change in an emotional segment on Tuesday evening. Because The Daily Show is taped hours before it airs, Stewart broke the news to his studio audience, who found out before the general public. 

"I would imagine as this show is airing, there may be information out there right now that the audience might not be aware of," the comedian began. "So I will just tell you... Doug Herzog and Michele Ganeless of Comedy Central gave me an incredible opportunity 17 years ago to pilot this wonderful franchise... 17 years is the longest I have ever in my life held a job by 16 years and five months... In my heart I know, it is time for someone else to have that opportunity."

Stewart, who made his debut on the show in January 1999 — replacing original host Craig Kilborn, who anchored for two years — doesn't have an official end date yet, but is expected to take his final bow later this year. 

"I don't have any specific plans," he said of what's next. "I got a lot of ideas. I got a lot of things in my head. I'm gonna have dinner on a school night with my family, who I have heard from multiple sources are lovely people." 

Stewart is the father of two children with his wife Tracey McShane. The couple wed in 2000 and went on to welcome son Nathan in 2004 and daughter Maggie in 2006. The Daily Show host has also been exploring new things in his professional life as of late, trying his hand at directing for the first time with the 2014 release of his movie Rosewater.

"I'm not gonna be here and try to sum up what this place has meant to me over the years," Stewart added. "This show doesn't deserve an easy slightly restless host and neither do you. I don't think I'm going to miss being on television every day, I'm going to miss coming here every day."

Watch Stewart's emotional announcement in the video above and check out celebrity reactions to his departure below!