Surrounded by a studio full of staff holding signs that read #teamrobin, Good Morning America's Robin Roberts told viewers "this will be my final morning for awhile."
Roberts originally was scheduled to take medical leave after Friday's show to prepare for a bone marrow transplant to treat MDS, a rare blood and bone marrow disorder.
The host is leaving early to be with her ailing 88-year-old mother in Mississippi and other family in the path of Hurricane Isaac.
Roberts announced in June that she had MDS, a stunning revelation that came some five years after she won her public battle against breast cancer.
Much of the show's 8 a.m. hour was devoted to Roberts and the transplant process; she's receiving bone marrow from her sister.
GMA's staff also gave Roberts touching mementos, including a scrapbook, matching PJs for her and her sister, and the RC Cola she apparently loved to drink as a child.
"This is see you later, see you soon," Roberts said before signing off, defiantly. "I'll get back to you as soon as I can."
"To my GMA family, and my family there at home, I love you and I'll see you soon."
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