Rupert Murdoch arrives at News of the World offices

LONDON

The tabloid is owned by the 80-year-old Murdoch's media empire News International. Its last publication day is Sunday.

The 168-year-old muckraking paper was shut down Thursday after allegations its journalists paid police for information and hacked into the phone messages of celebrities, young murder victims and even the families of dead soldiers.

The 8,674th edition apologizes for letting the paper's readers down, but stops short of acknowledging recent allegations that its journalists paid police for information.

"We praised high standards, we demanded high standards but, as we are now only too painfully aware, for a period of a few years up to 2006 some who worked for us, or in our name, fell shamefully short of those standards," read a full-page editorial in the paper. "Quite simply, we lost our way. Phones were hacked, and for that this newspaper is truly sorry."

Murdoch, who has long been considered a kingmaker in the British media establishment, is facing criticism and outrage not just over the new allegations of impropriety at his tabloid, but also the decision to shut the paper and put 200 journalists out of work.

News International declined to comment on Murdoch's movements or plans while in the U.K.

Meantime, the paper's former editor-in-chief, Andy Coulson, was arrested for corruption along with two other men.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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