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Watch: Shepard Smith announces sudden departure from Fox News in final sign-off

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NEW YORK -- In a stunning announcement, Shepard Smith said on his Friday show that after more than two decades at Fox News, he was stepping down as chief news anchor, and leaving the network.

"This is my last newscast here," Smith said, adding that he was "eternally grateful" to Fox for the opportunities it has afforded him.

"Together with my colleagues, we have written a first draft of history," Smith said. "Endeavored to deliver it to you while speaking truth to power, without fear or favor, in context and with perspective."

Smith signed off his newscast saying, "Even in our current polarized nation, it is my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists will thrive."

Smith's departure comes as tension between the network's news and opinion divisions reaches an all-time high. In the Trump era, and particularly in the last several weeks, the people working for Fox's news division have seen their work undermined by their opinion colleagues.

Recently, Smith engaged in a feud with opinion host Tucker Carlson.

Smith said that he recently asked Fox to allow him to leave and begin a "new chapter."

"After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged," Smith said.

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