04/15/2011 at 09:50 AM EDT
For Kelly Ripa
, the cancelation of All My Children
is like a death in the family.
"All My Children
was more than a job," the actress said in a statement Thursday. "It was my family. It was there that I met my husband; it was there
when my first two children were born; it was there where I met many of my life-long friends."
Continued Ripa: "It was the greatest training ground ever. I feel heart sick."
The actress, 40, who got her start on the long-running ABC soap opera in 1990, played Hayley Vaughan, a popular character. She left the show in 2002, one year after taking the co-hosting job on Live! with Regis and Kelly
alongside Regis Philbin.
In the wake of Thursday's news, other All My Children
castmembers, including Susan Lucci
, who's played Erica Kane on the show since 1970, have reflected on the show's contribution to pop culture.
Said Lucci: "It's been a fantastic journey."
All My Children
's final episode will air in September.