04/14/2011 at 03:00 PM EDT
It's the end of an era!
With Thursday's announcement that ABC's long-running soap operas All My Children
and One Life to Live
will come to an end
, one of the genre's most iconic figures is speaking out – and moving on.
"It's been a fantastic journey," Susan Lucci said in a statement Thursday. "I loved playing Erica Kane and working with [show creator] Agnes Nixon and all the incredible people involved with All My Children
. I'm looking forward to all kinds of new and exciting opportunities."
Lucci, 64, has played the character since 1970 and in those years, Erica has had quite the go of it: She was married 10 times (not counting marriages that were deemed invalid), threatened suicide, been accused of murder and forced to go on the run, cheated on one of her husbands with his brother, served time in prison for kidnapping, been facially disfigured in a car accident, beat addictions to prescription drugs and alcohol following a back injury; she was raped, and years later stabbed another husband after hallucinating that he was her rapist; she secretly took birth control pills behind another husband's back; she also had an abortion – but the pregnancy wasn't actually terminated. Erica found out later that her doctor stole the unborn child and implanted it in another woman, who gave birth and raised the baby as her own.
In 1999, Lucci won the Daytime Emmy for the role after being passed over 18 times.