Stars come out to say goodbye to Oprah Winfrey

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Actresses Halle Berry, Queen Latifah, Katie Holmes and Dakota Fanning all appeared, along with newswoman Diane Sawyer.

Beyonce sang her song “Run the World (Girls)” backed by dozens of dancers. Rascal Flatts performed too.

“Oprah Winfrey, because of you women everywhere have graduated to a new level of understanding of who we are, of what we are and most of all who we can be,” Beyonce said.

The stadium was decorated with pictures of Winfrey at seminal moments over the course of her talk show. Boxes of tissues were on scattered seats throughout the audience.

Harpo Productions received more than 154,000 ticket requests for seats to Tuesday’s event. Tickets were free and distributed to fans through a lottery.

Winfrey also received messages from some less-famous admirers. Female American soldiers gave a taped message from Iraq and three female fans from countries around the world came on stage. The show was interspersed with clips of Winfrey’s fans and flashbacks of previous episodes.

Fans started lining up outside hours before the taping started.

Bessie Carroll, 70, of Chicago came to the show with her daughter.

“I think we’ve gotten everything we could have and more than we should have from her,” Carroll said. “If she feels it’s time to go, we have to release her and let her enjoy her life.”

Mashonda White, 41, an engineer from Aurora, called Winfrey an inspiration.

“She’s a blueprint of what I would like to become,” White said. “She never takes anything negatively. She always makes it positive.”

Celebrities such as Lisa Ling, Carson Kressley, Jessica Seinfeld, Ally Wentworth, Bob Greene and former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley sat in the audience.

The content of the final episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” is still under wraps.

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AP reporter Alicia Rancilio contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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