Ida Mae Astute/ABC
Hillary Busis
August 30, 2012 AT 01:58 PM EDT

Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts was supposed to begin a medical leave of absence after Friday’s show. But in a surprise move, the ailing newswoman announced on air this morning that today would, in fact, be her last day on GMA “for a while.”

“Some things happened at home,” Roberts said, explaining that her 88-year-old mother is also in poor health. Roberts and her sister, Sally-Ann, are both heading to Mississippi to care for her and be with other family members affected by Hurricane Isaac. Once home, Roberts will also begin preparing for a bone marrow transplant to treat her myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS.

Though her farewell was emotional, Roberts presented a brave face: “‘Life provides losses and heartbreak for all of us. But the greatest tragedy is to have the experience and miss the meaning,'” she said, reciting an inspirational quote. “I am determined not to miss that meaning.”

While Roberts is gone, an all-star slate of celebrity subs will fill in for her on air. The list includes Katie Couric, Barbara Walters, the cast of Modern Family, Kelly Ripa, Chris Rock, Rob Lowe, Oprah Winfrey, and other surprise guests.

Viewers can also follow Roberts’ journey to health at GMA‘s website.

Read more:

Robin Roberts takes medical leave from ‘Good Morning America’

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