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Maria Leaving Sesame Street
Credit: Courtesy 'Sesame Street'

Sesame Street is losing one of its longest and beloved residents. Sonia Manzano, who has played Maria for over four decades, is retiring from the long-running PBS children's series.

Manzano joined the TV neighborhood in 1971 as both a writer and actress. The 65-year-old, who played a teenager when she started on Sesame Street, announced her departure from the show during a speech she gave this week at the American Library Association Annual Conference.

In addition to her work on the show, which has earned her 15 Daytime Emmys as part of the writing staff, she also has her first children's book, The Lowdown on the High Bridge, coming out this summer as well as her autobiography, Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South of Bronx.

As you can imagine fans, both young and old, are saddened by the news of one of their favorite Sesame Street neighbors moving to a different hood. But Manzano tweeted that maybe she would return for the 50th anniversary of the series. After all, she'll always know how to get to Sesame Street.