Pat Sajak has spun the wheel for the very last time! On June 7, Wheel of Fortune airs its final new episode with Pat at the podium, ending a 40-year run as one of America’s most beloved game show hosts. “Years go by fast,” Pat says. “It’s an honor to have been in people’s living rooms for that long.”

Pat, 77, will remain a consultant on the show for the next three years, but he’s looking forward to working less. “As much as he has thoroughly enjoyed his years on the show, he is ready to step back and relax,” says a friend of Pat, who was chosen by Wheel creator Merv Griffin to replace original host Chuck Woolery in 1981.

Pat quickly won fans for his funny interactions with contestants. “You never know what he’s going to say or do,” Vanna White, Wheel’s cohost, tells Closer.

The TV personality honed his quick thinking as a weatherman and Sunday talk show host in Los Angeles in the late 1970s. “You’d be out on a trout farm interviewing people who had nothing to do with fish,” Pat recalled. “It was good training, in retrospect. You learned how to tap dance.”

Ryan Seacrest Is Taking Over ‘Wheel of Fortune’

By the time the show’s new host, Ryan Seacrest, begins taping new episodes of Wheel, slated to begin airing this fall, Pat should be happily entrenched in his new life. “Pat will spend his time enjoying his family and his hobbies,” says the friend. “He loves to travel, to play the occasional game of golf with friends, and do charity work with organizations close to his heart like the USO and PETA.”

Since its inception, Wheel has awarded more than $250 million in prizes. More than 10,000 people have auditioned to share the stage with Pat and Vanna during their tenure. “It’s been a wonderful ride,” Pat says. “Many thanks to you all.”

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