Ahead of Pat Sajak’s final episode on Friday as host of “Wheel of Fortune,” Vanna White paid an emotional tribute to her co-host of more than 40 years.

On Thursday’s episode of the beloved game show, White honored Sajak — a longtime Anne Arundel County resident — and their friendship with a video segment that featured clips and photos tracing their collaboration from the 1980s to the present.

“As this chapter of our lives is coming to an end, I know you’ll still be close by. You’re like a brother to me, and I consider you a true lifelong friend who I will always adore,” she said. “I love you, Pat.”

White said that while their long-running work collaboration has been significant to her — noting that he made her feel “so comfortable and so confident” when she started — their personal friendship has meant much more.

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“As much fun as we had on camera, those memories, milestones and life events we shared with our families, outside the studio, are my favorite,” she said, seeming to hold back tears. “We’ve watched our children grow up together. We’ve traveled all over the world. We’ve eaten hundreds of meals together. We’ve laughed; we’ve cried; we’ve celebrated.”

After the recorded video segment ended, Sajak and White hugged onstage.

A home in Maryland

Although “Wheel of Fortune” is filmed in California, Sajak has long had ties to Maryland. He’s married to Maryland native Lesly Brown. In 1991, the couple bought a $1.2 million house in Bluff Point, a gated community in Severna Park, two years after they got married at St. Mary’s Parish in downtown Annapolis.

In 1998, Sajak bought a former radio station in Annapolis, WNAV-1430AM. He sold it to a group of local broadcasters in 2022, according to Capital Gazette.

“He spends a lot of time here and he wanted to get into some sort of investment locally,” Jake Einstein, former owner of WHFS-FM and WRNR-FM, told The Baltimore Sun when Sajak bought the station.

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A pavilion at Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center is also named after Sajak and his wife, who have financially supported the hospital. In 2001, the Sajaks donated $1 million for a new breast center, according to a 2006 profile in The Baltimore Sun.

Last year, Sajak reportedly sold his Severna Park home. He is currently living in Los Angeles.

Sajak’s final episode

Sajak and White have been one of television’s most iconic duos since they started working on “Wheel of Fortune” together in 1982, when the show first aired in syndication. They have appeared in over 8,000 episodes together, with Sajak leading the contestants through the game and White famously turning the letters on the puzzle board.

Sajak announced his retirement in June 2023, making the 41st season of the show his last. White extended her contract in September through the 2025-26 season and will help shepherd Sajak’s replacement, Ryan Seacrest, through his first two seasons at the helm.

When he was announced as Sajak’s successor, Seacrest said in a statement he was “truly humbled” to take over.

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“I can say, along with the rest of America, that it’s been a privilege and pure joy to watch Pat and Vanna on our television screens for an unprecedented 40 years, making us smile every night and feel right at home with them,” Seacrest said.

On Friday, Sajak shared a simple farewell message on social media. “Thank you all so very much,” he wrote on X.

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