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Willard Scott Retiring after 35 Years at ‘Today,’ 65 at NBC

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NEW YORK - JULY 14: Co-hosts Al Roker and Willard Scott appear on NBC's "Today" at Rockefeller Center on July 14, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Willard Scott is done with “Today.”

The 81-year-old weather forecaster and centenarian birthday-wisher, who has been with NBC’s flagship morning program for 35 years, is stepping down, the show said Friday.

“Some bittersweet news. After 65 years at NBC — 35 of them on this show — our beloved friend, Willard Scott, is retiring,” “Today” host Matt Lauer said.

Though Scott hasn’t been the regular weather forecaster on “Today” since 1996, when Al Roker took over full time, he has been a regular and comforting presence on the show with his greetings to 100-year-old celebrants.

Willard, a Washington-area native, started with NBC’s Washington radio station WRC in 1950 as a page. Through the years, he has been a radio host, a children’s television character, a local weather forecaster and a “Today” mainstay.

And, of course, he was Ronald McDonald for several years, something the burger chain remembered Friday.

“Today” will be paying tribute to Scott on Tuesday. Fans can join in with the hashtag #ThankYouWillard.