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Steve Kornacki looks visibly stunned after seeing MSNBC's Chris Matthews retire

After Matthews' farewell Monday, the camera switched to Kornacki who appeared caught off-guard by what he just heard.
Credit: AP
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Chris Matthews are photographed during a break in taping of a Town Hall with Chris Matthews' “Hardball” for MSNBC, at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Ill, Monday, March 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

MSNBC's Steve Kornacki appeared visibly stunned on the air Monday seconds after hearing colleague Chris Matthews abruptly announce his retirement.

After the open to Matthews' show "Hardball" played, Matthews spent about two minutes announcing his departure and apologizing for comments he made to women. He said compliments on a woman's appearance that some men, himself included, thought were OK “were never OK.”

The video dipped to black, then came back up to Kornacki in a newsroom who seemed as if he was blindsided by what he had just heard.

"That was a lot to take in just now," Kornacki said. "I'm sure you're still absorbing that and I am too."

Kornacki went on to call Matthews a legend and how he was honored to have worked with him.

Kornacki hosted the remainder of the hour Monday. Matthews never returned.

The Associated Press reports Matthews' departure came after weekend discussions with his bosses three days after a freelance journalist wrote about her “own sexist run-in” with Matthews in the makeup room before appearing on his show.

RELATED: Chris Matthews retires from MSNBC, cites comments to women

It also comes a week after Matthews had to apologize to Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. After Sanders' resounding win in the Nevada caucuses on Feb. 22, Matthews likened the campaign to a Nazi victory over France in World War II. Sanders has said some of his extended family were killed by Nazis in Poland.

RELATED: Chris Matthews apologizes for comparing Sanders' campaign to Nazi victory over France

Kornacki's reaction was reminiscent of Bret Baier in October 2019 when longtime Fox News anchor Shepherd Smith suddenly announced he was leaving the network.

It's not yet clear who will take over for Matthews in the 7 p.m. eastern time slot on MSNBC.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.