Rich Boehne, chief executive officer of Rocky-owner Scripps, broke the news to the staff at noon (Thursday), ending nearly three months of speculation over the paper's future.
"People are in grief," Editor John Temple said at a news conference later.
Boehne told staffers that the Rocky was the victim of a terrible economy and an upheaval in the newspaper industry.
"Denver can't support two newspapers any longer," Boehne told staffers, some of whom cried at the news. "It's certainly not good news for you, and it's certainly not good news for Denver."
Reaction came from across the nation and around the block.
"The Rocky Mountain News has chronicled the storied, and at times tumultuous, history of Colorado for nearly 150 years. I am deeply saddened by this news, and my heart goes out to all the talented men and women at the Rocky," U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet said in a statement. "I am grateful for their hard work and dedication to not only their profession, but the people of Colorado as well."
Founded in 1859 by William Byers, the Rocky won four Pulitzers in the past decade.