Moment that brought Sam to tears on final day
It is the end of an era at brekky central with Sam Armytage hosting Sunrise for the final time today.
The 44-year-old announced her departure from the program on Tuesday after hosting the ratings behemoth alongside David Koch for eight-years.
Koch opened the program by telling viewers it promised to be a "memorable day" and later told Armytage there were plenty of surprises in store for her last few hours.
They included a message from London via Facetime from her sister Georgie and niece Lucia which left Armytage reaching for the tissues.
"Sam has been amazing, she was such an amazing big sister when I was little, and so she used to read to me and was like my second mother, and she sort of continued to be that second mother," sister Georgie said. "She is the life of the party, she has an enormous heart, and we can't wait to see her properly."
Supporters gathered in Martin Place to bid Armytage farewell after eight years at the helm.
Sam superfan Antonio Sneddon, 30, from Waterloo, was on the scene before dawn to watch Armytage's final broadcast with flowers and a sign reading "Goodbye Samantha".
"I've been watching Sam since day one of her time on Sunrise, she just makes the program interesting to watch, she enlightens your morning and makes everyone laugh," Mr Sneddon said. "It won't be the same without her. It's like losing a family member when she's been on my TV for so long."
Mr Sneddon said while he was loath to bid Armytage farewell, he had a replacement in mind.
"Nat (Barr) would be a good replacement, she brings the same vibe and enjoyment when Sam has been away," he said.
Sunrise posted a montage of Armytage highlights to social media in the lead up to the show showing her hugging fans and holding babies.
Entertainment reporter Nelson Aspen paid tribute to his colleague of more than 15 years.
"It's been a privilege, joy, I am looking forward to the next chapter for you. I look forward to meeting your handsome husband when you're in New York."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also delivered a send-off message, thanking the co-host for her journalism over the years: "I wish you all the best in the next stage of your life."
Not all the accolades were as kind. With Sunrise weatherman Sam Mac's cringe-worthy song raising a few eyebrows.
Her departure sent shockwaves through the TV industry with many wondering who will replace the Channel 7 star.
Rival morning show host Sarah Harris from Studio 10 is one name being circulated to replace Armytage.
Harris, 39, joined the struggling Channel 10 show as a co-host in 2013 and last year, the show's panel of seven was slashed down to two to rival Channel's 7 and 9.
Harris now co-hosts alongside Dancing With The Stars judge Tristan MacManus, however the show has consistently struggled to compete with Channel 9's Today show and Seven's Sunrise, which remains number one.
Armytage's Sunrise co-star, Natalie Barr, who is the show's news presenter, is another favourite to replace the TV presenter.
A Channel 7 spokeswoman told The Daily Telegraph the host would still be employed by the network with new projects to be announced at a later date.
Seven West Media managing director and chief executive officer, James Warburton, said: "We will be sad to see her leave Sunrise, but completely understand and support her decision to step back for a while and focus on her family.
"We wish Sam nothing but the very best for her break and look forward to announcing some exciting new projects for her in late 2021 and into 2022."
It comes after Armytage announced a new podcast with Stellar which detailed the dangers of TV.
"I don't think any of us want to do the same thing forever," she said on Something To Talk About.
"There's a lot about television that's all about you and that's an awful way to live your life.
"TV isn't a place that's necessarily very healthy. It's full of sociopaths and narcissists - it can be a dangerous environment, let me tell you."
Armytage replaced much-loved former Sunrise host Melissa Doyle in 2013.
Originally published as Moment that brought Sam to tears on final day