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David Letterman Announces His Retirement From 'Late Show'

David Letterman, who's hosted The Late Show with David Letterman on CBS for 21 years, announced his retirement to his studio audience during Thursday's taping. 

UPDATED with video:

According to The New York Daily News, Letterman told the audience his first call was to CBS chief Les Moonves:

“He and I have had a relationship for years and years and years, and we have had this conversation in the past, and we agreed that we would work together on this circumstance and the timing of this circumstance. And I phoned him just before the program, and I said 'Leslie, it's been great, you've been great, and the network has been great, but I'm retiring,'" said Letterman.

"I just want to reiterate my thanks for the support from the network, all of the people who have worked here, all of the people in the theater, all the people on the staff, everybody at home, thank you very much. What this means now, is that Paul and I can be married."

Letterman added, "We don't have the timetable for this precisely down - I think it will be at least a year or so, but sometime in the not too distant future, 2015 for the love of God, in fact, Paul and I will be wrapping things up," he added, to a standing ovation from the audience in the Ed Sullivan Theater.

Prior to his CBS program, Letterman began hosting NBC's Late Show (currently helmed by Seth Meyers) in 1982. He became the longest serving late night host in television history last year when he hit the 31 year mark, surpassing Johnny Carson.

Here's the official statement from CBS head Les Moonves:

“When Dave decided on a one-year extension for his most recent contract, we knew this day was getting closer, but that doesn’t make the moment any less poignant for us. For 21 years, David Letterman has graced our Network’s air in late night with wit, gravitas and brilliance unique in the history of our medium. During that time, Dave has given television audiences thousands of hours of comedic entertainment, the sharpest interviews in late night, and brilliant moments of candor and perspective around national events. He’s also managed to keep many celebrities, politicians and executives on their toes – including me. There is only one David Letterman. His greatness will always be remembered here, and he will certainly sit among the pantheon of this business. On a personal note, it’s been a privilege to get to know Dave and to enjoy a terrific relationship. It’s going to be tough to say goodbye. Fortunately, we won’t have to do that for another year or so. Until then, we look forward to celebrating Dave’s remarkable show and incredible talents.”

Quite the run, Dave!! Congratulations and we look forward to your final year! 

What do you think of Dave's decision to retire, Instincters? Is it time?