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Mark Rosen's 50-year career at WCCO-TV ends with emotional, memorable tribute

It's hard not to cry watching his final moments.

Amelia Santaniello couldn't hold back tears. Frank Vascellaro was choked up. Chris Shaffer sat quietly at the end of the anchor desk. 

Opposite of Shaffer was a 6-foot-6 media giant. A man who remained mostly composed, as he always was, even though the buzzer was about to sound on his 50-year career at WCCO-TV. 

"It's going to be like the end of the Wizard of Oz. It's going to be like saying goodbye to your best friends. But also understand that in the end, there's no place like home. And that's where I need to be," said sportscaster Mark Rosen. 

His words shook viewers and colleagues alike, with Santaniello crying during the live broadcast and asking her husband Vascellaro to help continue the show. 

"I'm having my own problems," said Vascellaro, who mustered enough composure to push the tribute into the next segment. 

Rosen has ended his Hall of Fame TV career to spend more time with his wife, Denise, as she battles a brain tumor discovered by doctors just months ago, and his parting words were dedicated to her, his co-workers and the viewers. 

"What a journey it's been. Unimaginable. Not just covering the biggest sporting events and athletes, but getting immersed in our amazing community. I've witnessed the. unselfish work done by countless people and volunteers for so many good causes, which brings me to all of you. 

I'm so grateful. So grateful for watching. Yes, in many cases growing up with me here at Channel 4. I never took it for granted. You can't if you want to survive in this business and yes, please, if you see me on the street say hello. You can ask me if the Vikings will ever get to the Super Bowl. 

Finally I want you know about my partner all of these years whose been with me practically from the beginning, my wife Denise, who I was fortunate to meet when she was a nighttime artist here in the early '70s. 

Denise carved out her own career in both advertising agencies and retail advertising and she has never lost her curiosity, her passion for art and the true beauty in our world. Her light shines brightly on everyone who comes in contact with her, and our adult children have benefitted from her infinite wisdom, and so have I. 

Thank you all. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I'm going to miss all of you."

The tribute show included memories from his career and well wishes shared by local athletes from past and present as well as many of Rosen's former colleagues at WCCO-TV, including anchor Don Shelby, sports man Mike Max and meteorologist Paul Douglas. 

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You can watch the entire tribute to Rosen right here or in the video below. It's 27 minutes and commercial-free, just as it was during Thursday night's memorable show. And whatever you do, DO NOT miss the the 13- to 15-minute mark of the video (it'll make you cry). 

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