Blake Shelton of The Voice makes a surprising announcement

Blake Shelton has been a coach at NBC’s The voice since the show debuted in 2011. But tonight, just before the Voice Battles episode aired, he took to social media to announce that he will be leaving the show after next season.

“I’ve struggled with this for a while, and I’ve decided it’s time for me to step away from The Voice,” he wrote. “This show has changed my life for the better in every way and it will always feel like home to me.”

The country singer referred to his 23-season run and his adorable encounter with vote coach and future wife Gwen Stefani, no doubt.

“I have to give a big compliment to the singers – the ‘Voices’ who come on this stage season after season and amaze us with their talent and a special thanks to those who chose me as their coach. In the end it is about you’ all fans, who watch and support these artists, coaches us and everyone at The voice chasing their dreams. It wouldn’t happen without you!” Shelton said.

Shelton is the last of the original cast to leave the singing competition show. The other OGs were Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and CeeLo Green.

Over the years, he has shared the coaching phase with the likes of Usher, Pharrell Williams, Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys, Nick Jonas, Ariana Grande and of course his wife, Gwen Stefani.

One of his fellow players, John Legend, took to Twitter right after the announcement to give props to his friend and wrote: “You will be missed, brother! What an incredible run!”

Shelton’s departure wasn’t the only big news coming tonight.

NBC also announced that he will be joined in his final season on The voice by Chance the Rapper and Niall Horan of One Direction. Kelly Clarkson also returns for the ninth time.

The voice averaged 7.69 million viewers on Mondays and 7.51 million on Tuesdays, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“It takes a lot of work, passion and adult drinks (Ha!) to put on a live show twice a week,” Shelton said.