Amid allegations of widespread phone hacking, the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World is shutting down after 168 years of operation.

The weekly British tabloid, called the largest English-language newspaper in the world, is accused of illegally accessing the cell phone messages of up to 4,000 victims -- all to gain salacious headlines.

The paper acknowledged it hacked into the phones of politicians, celebrities and royal aides, but the most recent allegations include the phones of missing children, the relatives of terrorist victims and families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan. The scandal has caused dozens of companies, including Ford's U.K. unit and Japan's Mitsubishi, to pull their ads.

James Murdoch, head of European operations, said, "Wrongdoers turned a good newsroom bad, and this was not fully understood or adequately pursued."

The Murdoch empire also includes Fox Broadcasting, the Wall Street Journal and New York Post.

News of the World will publish its last edition on Sunday.

[USA Today]