Fans across the country were both shocked and upset when David Letterman announced his retirement on Thursday. A media frenzy descended upon the Ed Sullivan Theater where Letterman tapes shortly after the news broke, while thousands took to Twitter to express their gratitude and sentiment for the legendary late night personality.

A small mix of tourists and New Yorkers alike - hoping to score a ticket to Letterman's second taping Thursday - were surprised to hear a whispered rumor of retirement turn in to a full-blown media event, with cameras and news van stationed outside of the theater.

"I'm sad, but all good things come to an end," said Bill Cannon, 57, an Atlanta native who was visiting New York for the first time and hoping to get tickets to "The Late Show." "He deserves it, he's worked hard, and I've loved him for years," Cannon said.

"I had a feeling -- the retirement was sort of in the air -- I've heard speculation before," said Bob Budd, 70, of Long Island.

Budd, a retired English teacher, was in the city for the day having lunch with his brother when he decided to try his luck at the Ed Sullivan Theater. His speculation turned out to be right.

"He's a landmark, just like the Ed Sullivan Theater," said Budd with a wave towards the blinking "Late Show" marquee. As for Budd's thoughts for a successor, "I'd like to replace him," he joked.

A slew of stars and TV personalities took to Twitter to express gratitude towards Letterman for his years on television. "David @Letterman is the best there is and ever was," tweeted Jimmy Kimmel, while Ellen DeGeneres chimed in that "It's been 31 incredible years. Television won't be the same without you, Dave."

Donald Trump tweeted shortly after the announcement, "I can't believe David Letterman has announced his retirement - He is a great guy!"

Arsenio Hall chimed in, tweeting that "There's a tear under the CBS eye! David Letterman -- Simply The Best!!!"

(Shawn McCreesh)