News broke that Andrew Lincoln will be leaving The Walking Dead after season nine, however, he regrets that the news was spoiled for fans.

A day after their Comic-Con panel, Lincoln confirmed that Rick Grimes will no longer be apart of the cast, which was first reported a few months ago. “There is a certain sense of relief this morning,” he admitted. “But I still regret that the story broke, because I believe in story and I think it would have been… it’s gonna be a great season but it would have been greater if it was not spoiled to a degree.”

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Lincoln cherishes everything that this show did for him in past nine years, and promises to not get too emotional. “I love this show. It means everything to me. I love the people who make this show. I promise not to cry, I’ve done enough crying onscreen,” he told Variety.

His castmates Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Norman Reedus shared their appreciation for Lincoln and everything he has done for the show since the beginning.

“He is the leader of this show and everyone kind of follows his lead and he leads with his heart, and that’s a very rare quality,” Morgan told to Variety. “This show really is a family, and I think a lot of that has to do with Andy … Andy has always been the guy, and the show is going to miss him; we’re going to miss him. It’s going to be a different vibe; there’s no replacing him.”

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Reedus recalls sharing a trailer with Lincoln for nine years. “He’s the first call I get when I wake up. He calls me, we talk about the day as we’re driving to work, we get to work, talk about the day, at lunch he’s in my trailer, and then we wrap and he calls me on the way home. It’s been like that every day,” he said.

Season nine, Lincoln’s last season, will premiere on October 7 on AMC.

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