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(Reuters) - John Hendricks, the founder of Discovery Communications Inc, will retire as the media company's chairman and from its board in May, Discovery announced on Thursday.
He will remain chairman through Discovery's annual shareholder meeting on May 16, the company said in a statement.
Hendricks created the Discovery Channel, which was launched in 1985 to offer documentary programming. He served as chief executive of Discovery Communications until he stepped down from that role in 2004.
Discovery now operates more than 190 worldwide television networks including the Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet.
"For over three decades now, I have somewhat envied the legions of documentarians that we have employed who have traveled the world to bring great stories and experiences to our viewers," Hendricks said in a letter to the board. "It is now finally time for me to go exploring!"
Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Bernard Orr