Shonda Rhimes Mourns Death of TV Executive Instrumental in 'Grey's Anatomy'

While Shonda Rhimes has become a champion for many women in the TV industry, on Friday she is mourning her "very first champion."

The TV power player shared her grief and condolences on Twitter after learning the news that TV executive and longtime friend Suzanne Patmore Gibbs died suddenly on Thursday. She was 50.

"She was my very first champion at ABC Studios, the first exec to say "maybe Shonda could write a TV Show." Then she fought like hell to get us the chance to make the Grey's Anatomy pilot," Rhimes tweeted. "No way to describe this loss."

Patmore Gibbs passed away from complications stemming from a hernia surgery, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She was responsible for bringing popular shows to fruition like Desperate Housewives, Lost, The Blacklist, Masters of Sex and Outlander.

She had been serving as the head of Sony imprint TriStar Television since the division was relaunched in May 2015. She previously worked for Touchstone TV, ABC Entertainment and Sony Pictures Studios.

Krista Vernoff, the showrunner for Grey's Anatomy, tweeted her own condolences and dedicated Thursday's episode to the mom of two.

"I'd like to dedicate tonight's episode of [Grey's Anatomy] to Suzanne Patmore Gibbs who fought doggedly to put this series on the air. She was a super talent and funny and wise and deeply supportive friend. I love you, Suzanne."

Vernoff told THR that Patmore Gibbs "was a fierce advocate for all that is right and good in this world. She fought for women's voices before it was a popular thing to do. And while male network presidents often receive the credit for her work, Suzanne was the primary creative force behind Grey's Anatomy ever making it to the air."

"She was incredibly brave, and she stood up for what she believed in, even when her voice would shake," Vernoff continued. "She was an extraordinary talent. She was a deeply loving mother. She was a profoundly supportive friend. This is an unimaginable loss."

Rhimes' Shondaland partner Betsy Beers also paid tribute on Twitter, writing: "Suzanne Patmore Gibbs was a wonderful friend, a tireless creative partner and fierce advocate. Her passion and commitment and big beautiful brain inspired so many of us. She was a true force of nature. It's hard to imagine a world without her in it."


Patmore Gibbs is survived by her husband, Stuart, and their two children Dashiell and Violet.

In a statement, her family wrote that she "was a mentor, a guiding light and a tastemaker for multiple studios … a kind, thoughtful and supportive to everyone she worked with — and in return, she was respected and admired throughout Hollywood. While she was justifiably proud of her many career accomplishments, she felt that her greatest success was her loving family and friends."