Does Mark Die on Grey's Anatomy?

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We know Eric Dane is leaving Grey's Anatomy, but is his character, Dr. Mark Sloan, leaving Seattle Grace for the great beyond? This Twitter pic from Patrick Dempsey certainly implies as much.

In teasing Dane's exit and the upcoming Season 9 forest flashback, Shonda Rhimes said just last week that that viewers should assume nothing about Mark’s fate. That's probably still true.

Still, the photo - taken down at ABC’s request, according to Dempsey - could be telling:

Dempsey Twitpic

It's all unclear as we head into September, but from what Shonda has hinted so far, the opener (see Grey's Anatomy Season 9 promo) could leave even more up in the air than usual.

“When we start the season, we are ahead enough in time where we see the outcome of lots of things. And in the second episode, there’s rewind - we go backwards - to where they’re still in the forest,” Rhimes said.

“So you see what happened and in the next episode, you see how we get there.”

What's your take on the image above? Is it part of the flashback? Or the “outcome”? Will Mark pass away, or recover after hospitalization and leave town in good health? Discuss below!

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Everything comes apart at some point. We all will. It's the law. It's what we're designed to do. We have to face it, and accept it, and try to hold it together for as long as we can.

Meredith

Freezing, choking, getting tongue-tied--there's a reason it happens. We lose our words because the stakes are so high and we have so much to lose. We're petrified of saying too much, or saying it wrong. When the truth is,the only wrong thing you can say is nothing at all.

Jackson