Colton Underwood calls Chris Harrison a 'grade A human being' after 'Bachelor' departure

The former reality TV series lead called the former host a friend

Colton Underwood reacted to Chris Harrison's departure from "The Bachelor" franchise.

The former "Bachelor" lead, who recently came out as gay, posted a tribute to Harrison on his Instagram Story on Tuesday.

"Grade A human being. Thank you for being a friend, a stand up guy, and a hell of a host. Can't wait to see what you do next!" he wrote. 

Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday that Harrison would not be returning. 

CHRIS HARRISON LEAVING 'BACHELOR' FRANCHISE FOLLOWING RACISM CONTROVERSY

"Chris Harrison is stepping aside as host of ‘The Bachelor’ franchise. We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey," the producers said in a statement. 

The news comes just hours after the Season 17 premiere of "The Bachelorette" and days after it was revealed that the longtime host, 49, would not be returning to his duties on "Bachelor in Paradise," opting instead to let David Spade fill in for him. 

Chris Harrison (L) and Colton Underwood (R) during his season. 

Chris Harrison (L) and Colton Underwood (R) during his season.  (Eric McCandless via Getty Images)

Harrison posted a message to fans on his Instagram. "I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of ‘The Bachelor’ franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter. I’m so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we’ve made together. While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime," he wrote. 

'BACHELOR' HOST CHRIS HARRISON SPEAKS OUT AFTER STEPPING ASIDE FROM SHOW: 'I MADE A MISTAKE'

Deadline reported on Tuesday that Harrison struck an eight-figure deal with the franchise and Warner Bros. to leave quietly. 

He had previously stepped aside from his hosting duties for "The Bachelorette" after defending contestant Rachael Kirkconnell after it came to light that she attended an Antebellum-themed party prior to appearing on the show. The 24-year-old, who appeared in Season 25 with Matt James, the show's first Black lead, issued a lengthy apology after the photos resurfaced. She condemned her past actions which included attending an "Old South"-themed party in 2018 at a plantation and dressing up in a Native American costume. 

Harrison appeared on Extra in an interview with former "Bachelorette" Rachel Lindsay who was the show's first Black female lead. In the interview, he defended Kirkconnell, arguing that times were different merely three years ago. The host caught swift and immediate backlash prompting him to issue an apology of his own.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR ENTERTAINMENT NEWSLETTER

"I have this incredible platform to speak about love, and yesterday I took a stance on topics which I should have been better informed. While I do not speak for Rachael Kirkconnell, my intentions were simply to ask for grace in offering her an opportunity to speak on her own behalf," he wrote at the time. 

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

"What I now realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am so deeply sorry. I also apologize to my friend Rachel Lindsay for not listening to her better on a topic she has a first-hand understanding of, and humbly thank the members of Bachelor Nation who have reached out to me to hold me accountable," Harrison concluded. "I promise to do better."

Fox News' Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.