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Oprah Winfrey's Final Show, a Tearful Farewell After 25 Years

Kimberly Adams waist outside Harpo Studios before the final taping of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in Chicago, May 24, 2011.

U.S. television star Oprah Winfrey, 57, has ended her quarter-century-long talk show, tearing up as she told her millions of worldwide viewers that they and the program have been "the great love" of her life.

Earlier in the week, in the lead-up to the finale, Winfrey brought in top Hollywood celebrities to share the stage. But on the last day, there was just Winfrey. There was little background music on the hour-long show that is airing Wednesday, just Winfrey showing clips from over the years as she reminisced about the lessons of life she brought to viewers.

She told her legions of fans to listen to their inner feelings about life. In what she described as her "last class," she told viewers to remember that they are responsible for their own lives.

Over the years, Winfrey's fame and fortune spiraled to new heights as her media empire grew. Forbes magazine last year ranked her as the third-most powerful woman in the world. Forbes estimated her wealth at $2.7 billion.

That is a long path from her youth, the daughter of a single mother in rural, poor Mississippi.

In her finale, Winfrey said viewers often taught her and that 25 years after the first show, she is still saying "Thank you, America." At the end of the program, Winfrey told her fans: "I won't say goodbye. I'll just say, until we meet again."

Winfrey recently started the Oprah Winfrey Network on cable television and plans to devote her time to it and her other media ventures.

At the age of 19, Winfrey became a news anchor. In 1984, she moved to Chicago to host a morning talk show and within a year it was named "The Oprah Winfrey Show," eventually becoming the top-rated talk show in television history with many millions of viewers weekly in 150 countries.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.