The news that David Letterman had announced his retirement on Thursday was broken not by an interepid reporter or a hard-charging news organization, but by a musician.
Former R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills was a guest on "Late Show" on Thursday to perform with Joseph Arthur in paying tribute to the late Lou Reed. When he heard Letterman make his surprise announcement that he was planning to retire in 2015, he hesitated, then shared the news on Twitter. Turns out, he was the first to do it.
"Right place, right time, what can I say?" Mills said in a backstage interview recorded by "Late Show" staffers.
"Dave just announced his retirement #2025 #muchlovedave," Mills tweeted to his more than 2,000 followers on Thursday. Almost immediately, word began to spread, withs news outlets trying to confirm his tip.
"I didn't want to blow Dave's announcement, but then again, I figured there's 300 people in the audience and they're probably all tweeting the same thing," Mills said. "I figured it was all right."
"Late Show" staffers pointed out that history would show that Mills was the one who broke the news. Clearly uncomfortable with the notoriety for that, Mills simply said, "Everybody's gotta be good for something."
Following Letterman's announcement, celebrities heaped praise on the host via Twitter, including President Obama who wrote, "There are more than 10 reasons #DavidLettermanwill be missed."