It was reported on Friday that Justin Chambers will be leaving Grey's Anatomy after 15 years on the long-running medical drama, and fans are understandably more than a little bummed to hear the news. One fan went meta and expressed their emotions with a GIF of Chambers on the show, writing that they were feeling the same way.
Chambers' announcement was a surprise and, according to the actor, was a result of wanting to diversify his career.
"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," he said in a statement to Deadline. "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."
He continued, "As I move on from Grey's Anatomy, I want to thank the ABC family, Shonda Rimes, 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."
Chambers starred on Grey's since its premiere as Alex Karev, who started as a surgical intern before making his way to resident before becoming a pediatric surgical fellow. During the Season 15 premiere, Karev became the interim chief of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital after Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) took a stress sabbatical. He was fired for his role in Meredith's (Pompeo) insurance scandal and was hired as Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery at Pacific Northwest General Hospital.
The actor was last seen on the show during its 350th episode on Nov. 14 in what will reportedly be his final appearance. He did not appear during Grey's midseason finale later that month. During the Nov. 14 episode, Chambers returned home to care for his mother, and it remains to be seen how the show will handle his marriage to Jo Wilson (Camilla Luddington).
Grey's is currently in its sixteenth season and has been picked up through Season 17. The show recently passed ER as the longest-running medical drama and remains ABC's most watched and highest-rated series in adults 18-49 this season.
Photo Credit: Getty / Mitch Haaseth