The News of the World has made its excuses and signed off after 168 years with the headline: "Thank You & Goodbye".
An apology to readers in the last ever edition of the UK's best-selling newspaper admitted: "Quite simply we lost our way".
In moving scenes at the News International offices in Wapping, east London, editor Colin Myler led his journalists out of the building to rapturous applause.
It was the climax of an emotional day at the Sunday tabloid's headquarters and came as News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch prepared to fly to the UK to deal personally with the swiftly-unfolding phone hacking crisis which brought the paper to its knees.
In stark contrast to the stirring address in Thomas More Square, there was no fanfare at the Newsprinters presses in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire. Print team manager Nick Taylor simply pressed the button to start a print run of around five million copies - double the usual number to hit the stands.
As the presses began rolling, more than 200 members of staff left their desks for the final time and Mr Myler strode from the News International building to rapturous applause. Many of his staff - some wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the NoTW logo - wept or held their heads in their hands.
Brandishing the front and back pages of Sunday's paper - the 8674th edition - Mr Myler paid a moving tribute to his "professional" team and the paper's readers.
"It is not a record of any editor to want to close a title - of course I didn't close it," he said. "I want to pay tribute to this wonderful team of people here who after a really difficult day have produced a brilliantly professional newspaper."
To massive cheers, he added: "As I said to the staff this morning, this is not where we wanted to be or where we deserve to be. But as a final tribute to 7.5 million readers, this is for you and for the staff. Thank you. In the best tradition of Fleet Street, we are going to the pub."
On Twitter, former News of the World reporter Sophy Ridge, said a "tearful" Mr Myler had earlier "banged out" the staff in the traditional Fleet Street manner by himself. This came after he rallied reporters together with a personal email in which he told employees: "I know we will produce a paper to be proud of".