Ray Didinger began covering the Eagles and Philadelphia sports in 1969. Fifty-three years later, he’s saying goodbye.

Over the weekend, Didinger — a beloved Eagles commentator and Hall of Fame writer known affectionally as “The Godfather” of Philly sports — announced he is calling it a career, retiring from NBC Sports Philadelphia and the weekend show on 94.1 WIP he co-hosts with Glen Macnow. Holding back tears, he thanked the listeners who have tuned in over the years and praised his colleagues.

“I loved the people I worked with, and I’m proud of what we built. But I feel it’s time to go,” Didinger told listeners Sunday. “I’m healthy, I’m happy, but I’m also 75 years old. It’s time, really. It’s that simple.”

“Let’s have fun with the time that we have left,” Didinger added.

Didinger’s last show on WIP will be Sunday, May 29. The station has not yet announced who will co-host alongside Macnow moving forward.

In an era of hot takes and inflammatory remarks, Didinger is known for his level-headed analysis of the Eagles. In 2015, a frustrated Didinger criticized former head coach Chip Kelly after a loss, and though his words would barely qualify as a rant, his remarks carried weight because he so rarely lost his temper on air.

“I’d like [fans] to think that I was honest,” Didinger told WIP morning show host Angelo Cataldi on Monday. “And even if they didn’t agree with my opinion, or whatever I happened to say on a given day, that they respected the fact it was an honest opinion.”

» READ MORE: WIP host Angelo Cataldi to retire in 2022

Didinger’s Hall of Fame career began in newspapers, where he spent 30 years writing for the Philadelphia Bulletin and the Philadelphia Daily News. He began working for NFL Films as a senior producer in 1996, and joined then-Comcast SportsNet as an analyst in 1997.

He’s also an author and a playwright, penning Tommy and Me — a one-act drama about his love of football and a years-long friendship with Eagles legend Tommy McDonald, whom he grew up idolizing.

Not surprisingly, the tributes to Didinger continue to roll in. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie called Didinger “a consummate professional” who covered the Eagles “with tremendous passion and thoughtfulness.” Longtime Eagles announcer Merrill Reese said Didinger was an “absolute treasure,” while Phillies announcer Tom McCarthy called him a “savant.” And NBC Sports Philadelphia anchor Michael Barkann said Didinger was the “high priest” of the network’s pre- and postgame show, anchoring the broadcast with his level-headed analysis.

“There is something about his presence that commands attention,” Barkann said Sunday night. “That is because he is at once mild-mannered, kind, unassuming, and really, really smart.”

Inquirer columnist Marcus Hayes, who worked alongside Didinger for a couple years at the Daily News, said he was surprised by Didinger’s welcoming personality and his willingness to help a younger journalist in a business that attracts people with healthy egos and can be quite cutthroat.

“For him, it wasn’t entertainment — it was craft,” Hayes said on WIP Monday. “He knew he was excellent, and he wanted everyone else to be as excellent as possible.”

Didinger’s son David, a camera operator for NBC Sports Philadelphia, joined the network’s Phillies broadcast Sunday to congratulate his father. The two shared tears of joy on air following the Eagles’ 2018 Super Bowl win, but David said he now has something better to look forward to this season.

“It’ll be fun to actually sit down and watch an Eagles game with him one time,” he said.

Here’s more reaction from across the media and sports world to Didinger’s retirement: