'Sesame Street's' Maria is saying goodbye after more than four decades

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Maria Is Retiring from Sesame Street After 44 Years

Sesame Street is losing one of its most celebrated residents, Maria Figueroa.

After 44 years, Sesame Street's beloved Maria is moving on to greener climates as Sonia Manzano is retiring.

The 65-year-old actress revealed the news during her address at the American Library Association Annual Conference on Tuesday.

Manzano joined the show back in 1971 playing Maria, a Puerto Rican teenager who gets a job at the Sesame Street library.

WATCH: 'Sesame Street' Turns 45! See the Show's Biggest Celebrity Cameos

Fans of the show have watched Maria (and Manzano) grow up over the years and news of her departure hit many fan pretty hard, however most were very supportive and shared their gratitude for her years of dedication to teaching children.

Manzano also said that she's "not sure" what she's going to do now that she's retired, but she's "always searching" and that this chapter of her life is "the beginning of new endeavors."

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See photos from Sesame Street's 45th anniversary:

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Sesame Street's 45th anniversary
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'Sesame Street's' Maria is saying goodbye after more than four decades
401643 02: Actress Sonia Manzano, who plays Maria Rodriquez on the childrens television show 'Sesame Street,' and the muppet Grover lauch the new 'Super Grover' sandwich in honor of the 4,000th 'Sesame Street' episode February 27, 2002 at the Stage Deli in New York City. (Photo by George De Sota/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12: (L-R) Elmo, Grover and Abby Cadabby of Sesame Street visit at SiriusXM Studios on September 12, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Rommel Demano/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27: Sesame Street muppets Raya (L) and Elmo attend VIP Lounge at the 2014 Global Citizen Festival to end extreme poverty by 2030 in Central Park on September 27, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Global Citizen Festival)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Sesame Street's Snuffleupagus visits 'Good Morning America,' 9/12/14, airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) SARA HAINES, SNUFFLEUPAGUS
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28: TV journalist Barbara Walters attends the 12th Annual Sesame Workshop Benefit Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on May 28, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28: Creator of Sesame Street Joan Ganz Cooney and singer Michael Buble attend the 12th Annual Sesame Workshop Benefit Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on May 28, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28: President of the Jim Henson Foundation Cheryl Henson attends the 12th Annual Sesame Workshop Benefit Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on May 28, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/FilmMagic)
MIAMI, FL - JULY 12: Karla Martinez, Cookie Monster, Lola and Ana Patricia Gonzalez are seen during Sesame Street's visit of Univision's 'Despierta America' at Univision Headquarters on July 12, 2013 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29: President of the Jim Henson Foundation, Cheryl Henson attends the 11th annual Sesame Street Workshop Benefit Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on May 29, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29: Bob McGrath attends the 11th annual Sesame Street Workshop Benefit Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on May 29, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 01: Gary Knell, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop attends the 9th annual Sesame Workshop Benefit Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 1, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 08: Journalist Katie Couric (C) poses between two Sesame Street Muppets and children at the tree planting ceremony at Madison Square Park on April 8, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 04: Sesame Street characters attend the temporary street renaming to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Sesame Street Live on 31st Street & 8th Avenue on February 4, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE - 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' airs every weeknight, (12:05 - 1:05 a.m., ET), following 'Nightline,' featuring a diverse lineup of guests that include celebrities, athletes, musical acts, comedians and human interest subjects, along with comedy bits and a house band. The guests for WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4 included actor Josh Jackson ('Fringe'), Big Bird (Sesame Street's 40th Anniversary) and musical guest Ghostface Killah featuring Raheem DeVaughn. (Photo by Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images) JOSH JACKSON, BIG BIRD, JIMMY KIMMEL
A Sesame Street Afghan muppet called Zari is seen in this handout image provided to Reuters on April 1, 2016. Zari, a curious and lively girl whose name means "shimmering" in both the Dari and Pashto languages, makes her debut on April 7, 2016 on the "Baghch-e-Simsim" Afghan local co-production of the long-running U.S. educational TV show for pre-schoolers.REUTERS/Sesame Workshop/John E. Barrett/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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Aside from playing Maria, Manzano was also a writer on the show, and earned 15 Daytime Emmy Awards as part of the writing staff.

The PBS educational program celebrated its 45th anniversary in November, meaning Manzano has been on Sesame Street for nearly as long as the show has been on the air. Check out the video below for a look at all the biggest celebrities who made cameo appearances on Sesame Street over the years.

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