Los Angeles – — Jon Stewart, who turned his biting and free-wheeling humor into an unlikely source of news and analysis for viewers of "The Daily Show," will leave as host this year, Comedy Central said Tuesday.
His departure was announced by Comedy Central President Michele Ganeless after Stewart, host of the show since 1999, broke the news to the audience at Tuesday's taping in New York.
"Through his unique voice and vision, 'The Daily Show' has become a cultural touchstone for millions of fans and an unparalleled platform for political comedy that will endure for years to come," Ganeless said in a statement.
She called Stewart a "comic genius." He will remain as host until later this year, she said, but did not specify a date.
His departure is a second big blow for Comedy Central: Another star, Stephen Colbert, left "The Colbert Report" last year to take over from CBS late-night host David Letterman when he retires in May.
The Stewart and Colbert shows created templates for a comedic form that offered laughs along with trenchant political and social satire. Authors and politicians were as common as Hollywood celebrities on their shows.
Stewart took a several months-long hiatus in 2013 to direct "Rosewater," a film about an Iranian-born journalist who was imprisoned for 118 days in Tehran and accused of being a spy. The Comedy Central statement did not indicate what his plans were after leaving.
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