Eric Dane Leaving 'Grey's Anatomy'

Access Hollywood

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It looks like Eric Dane's shift at Seattle Grace has officially come to an end.

Dane - who plays Dr. Mark "McSteamy" Sloan -- has announced he is leaving "Grey's Anatomy," Access Hollywood has confirmed.

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"I am extremely grateful to everyone at 'Grey's,' ABC and Shondaland for the experience and memories I have had over the course of this run," Dane said in a statement to TV Line, who first reported the news. "It has been wonderful to work alongside and learn from a creative force such as Shonda Rhimes."

According to showrunner Rhimes, it wasn't an easy decision for the actor - and not one he made alone.

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"After much consideration and conversations, he and I have decided that this is the right time for his storyline to end," Rhimes told TVLine. "We're a big family here at 'Grey's' with a long history together and Eric will always remain an important part of our family."

However, Dane will likely return briefly for Season 9 for his character's farewell.

Last season's finale saw his character lose his ladylove Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh) following a plane crash in the wilderness.

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Despite his own life-threatening injuries from the crash, it appears his character will survive (at least, for now) before his curtain call in the new season.

Dane won't be the only series regular leaving the show.

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As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, the Season 8 finale saw the death of Lexie, as well as the departure of Kim Raver's character, Teddy.

"This finale was incredibly hard to write. I did not enjoy it. It made me sick and it made me sad," Rhimes Tweeted at the time. "We end the season not knowing ANYTHING about the future. Except for two things. We know we are definitely saying goodbye to two of my favorite people: Chyler Leigh (Lexie) and Kim Raver (Teddy)."

"Grey's Anatomy" will return for Season 9 on Sept. 27 on ABC.

Watch the Season 8 finale of "Grey's Anatomy":

-- Eric Anderson

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