Actor Eric Dane, who has been with Shonda Rhimes' longtime success, Grey's Anatomy, since 2006 and has even been dubbed Dr. Mark "McSteamy" Sloan, shocked fans today when he announced that he would be leaving the show.

"[We] did not come to this decision lightly, Rhimes told TV Line in a statement, "but after much consideration and conversations, [Dane] and I have decided that this is the right time for his storyline to end …. 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," Rhimes said. "I wish him the best and I look forward to watching him as he continues to steam up the big and small screens."

Dane offered his own statement about his surprising departure. "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. It has been wonderful to work alongside and learn from a creative force such as Shonda Rhimes."

Dane's departure rapidly follows Chyler Leigh's (Lexie) and Kim Raver's (Teddy). It's reported that Grey's Anatomy will bring on Friday Night Lights' Gaius Charles and True Blood's Camilla Luddington as replacements doctors.

Grey's Anatomy returns for season nine, which will be Dane's last, on September 27.

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