It's the end of an era for Grey's Anatomy.
News broke Friday that original series regular Justin Chambers was bowing out of the ABC drama for good.
While the initial Deadline report failed to mention fans had already seen the last of the loveable Alex Karev, TV Line later dished that we would not see the character on-screen again.
If you watch Grey's Anatomy online, you know that the last time Alex was on the November 14 episode, but it later emerged that the character left to care for his mother.
At that point, there was no indication that Chambers was exiting the series, so fans didn't overthink it. Now that we know he's gone, it makes all of those developments different.
The series has lost a lot of regulars over the years, but fans were loud and clear on Friday, calling for the series to conclude after sixteen seasons.
Now, leading lady Ellen Pompeo has opened up about the exit, and we have to agree with her.
The actress commented on a Vanity Fair tweet which posited that ABC’s top-rated (and broadcast-TV’s No. 2 overall) series “is about to feel one of its biggest losses yet,” saying: “Truer words have never been spoken."
That marked the first time Pompeo had weighed in on the matter, and while it was a vague response, it shows that Pompeo understands the fabric of the show will forever be changed.
Characters have been mentioned years after their departure from the series, so we're sure we will learn all about Alex's time with his mother, but it also makes use question what will become of Camilla Luddington's Jo Karev -- aka, the wife of Alex.
In a Friday statement, Chambers said, “There’s no good time to say goodbye to a show and character that’s defined so much of my life for the past 15 years.
“For some time now, however, I have hoped to diversify my acting roles and career choices. And, as I turn 50 and am blessed with my remarkable, supportive wife and five wonderful children, now is that time."
"As I move on from Grey’s Anatomy, I want to thank the ABC family, Shonda [Rhimes], original cast members Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson and James Pickens, and the rest of the amazing cast and crew, both past and present, and, of course, the fans for an extraordinary ride.”
Grey's Anatomy is already renewed for Season 17, but the future beyond that is murky. It has been teased on numerous occasions that the show will go on for as long as Pompeo wants to be a part of it.
Grey's is shifting back to the 9/8c slot later this month, so it will be interesting to see whether it sinks in the ratings, but the show has proven to be one of the most resilient on the small screen.
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Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.