Larry King, host of CNN’s “Larry King Live,” announced June 29 that he will retire this fall after 25 years on the air, leaving a void at the cable news company.

“It was time. This was time,” King said in an interview with KTLA Five in Los Angeles. “I made a very good arrangement and CNN was terrific. I feel free. There’s a million other things that I’ve wanted to do.

“The sad part was talking to the staff,” he said. “They’re very loyal. They’ve been with me for a lot of years and I want to see that they’re placed well.”

The career of the 76-year-old newsman with the raspy voice has been nothing short of remarkable. King has won two Peabody Awards, 10 CableACE awards, two Gracie Allen Awards and an Emmy Award.

His career was celebrated by many, including Ted Turner, CNN’s founder.

“Larry has been the face of CNN for many years and has set the example for others to follow,” Turner told ABC News. “He is and always will be one of my closest friends. I wish him and his family all the very best.”

King’s announcement comes at a time when ratings for his show have plummeted, falling 43 percent in the first quarter of the year. Questions about his replacement had surfaced before King announced his retirement.

“Speculation about who will replace King has been alive for so long, it could apply for a learner’s permit,” AOL DailyFinance blogger Jeff Bercovici wrote in March. “Names in the mix have ranged from Ryan Seacrest, King’s frequent fill-in host and leading contender for the position, to Katie Couric, whose contractual commitment to CBS ends almost exactly when King’s contract is up. Internal contenders include the network’s Anderson Cooper and John King, who now has his own 7 p.m. show.”

King says he expects to continue working with CNN in the future but at the moment wants to focus more of his time on his family.