This Morning presenters have paid tribute to Holly Willoughby as they opened the first show since her shock departure.
Presenters Rochelle Humes and Craig Doyle said Willoughby would “forever be one of us”.
Willoughby announced she was leaving the ITV flagship show on Tuesday afternoon via a post on Instagram.
On Wednesday’s episode of the show, Humes said: “Of course, we want to start by sending our love, best wishes and respect to our Holly.
“Holly loved her job here and was really looking forward to the future of the show. But recent events, especially in the past week, have been hard to deal with and she’s quite rightly putting her family first.”
Doyle added: “On behalf of everyone here, in front and behind the camera, we just loved working with Holly and she made coming into work so much fun, we are all really, really sad and we’re really going to miss her.”
Humes said: “Holly said she’s incredibly proud of what she’s achieved on this show, and so are we.
“She will forever be one of us.”
Doyle added: “But as Holly Willoughby knows only too well, the show must go on.”
Fellow ITV presenter, Lorraine Kelly, also sent her best wishes to Willoughby during her ITV show Lorraine.
Kelly said the star had made a “terribly difficult decision” to leave the show and spoke about her “lovely” experience on This Morning just last week.
Kelly added: “It just is a shame and, Holly, we wish you all the very best, you and your family. I know that must have been a terribly difficult decision because she loves the show. She loves the show.”
The news came after a 36-year-old man was charged and remanded in custody last week over an alleged plot to kidnap and murder the television presenter.
It also follows a turbulent period at the show during which former co-host Phillip Schofield left the show after admitting to a relationship with a younger male colleague.
Willoughby’s full statement on Instagram said: “I have let ITV know today that after 14 years, I will not be returning to This Morning.
“To everyone who has ever worked on the show over the years, thank you so so much.
“This is such a difficult goodbye, you are incredible and I forever will be proud of what we’ve done together.
“Thank you to everyone at ITV for being supportive. To every guest who has sat on our sofa, thank you.
“Most of all, thank you to the wonderful viewers. You’ve been so loyal, so supportive and the very best company every day.
“Richard and Judy said ‘we only look after this show, it will always belong to the viewers’. It’s been an honour to just be part of its story and I know this story has many chapters left to go.
“Sadly, however, I now feel I have to make this decision for me and my family.
“I will miss you all so much”.
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