In a season of ups and downs, Grey’s Anatomy just revealed that they are saying goodbye to another beloved character. Last night’s episode revealed that actor Jesse Williams will be leaving the show after playing Jackson Avery for 12 seasons.

Williams’ character revealed last night that he wanted to move on from Seattle and take over the work at his family’s foundation in Boston.

Williams said he would be forever grateful for the opportunities given to him by Shonda Rhimes, the network, the studio, his castmates and crew members.

“As an actor, director and person, I have been obscenely lucky to learn so much from so many and I thank our beautiful fans, who breathe so much energy and appreciation into our shared worlds,” he wrote to E!. “The experience and endurance born of creating nearly 300 hours of leading global television is a gift I’ll carry always. I am immensely proud of our work, our impact and to be moving forward with so many tools, opportunities, allies and dear friends.”

Grey’s Anatomy executive producer and showrunner Krista Vernoff said, “Jesse Williams is an extraordinary artist and activist. Watching his evolution these past 11 years both on screen and off has been a true gift. Jesse brings so much heart, such depth of care, and so much intelligence to his work. We will miss Jesse terribly and we will miss Jackson Avery – played to perfection for so many years.”

Williams’ departure follows the death of Giacomo Gianniotti’s character, Andrew DeLuca earlier in the season. DeLuca died after being stabbed while trying to catch a suspected child trafficker. Last year, Grey’s also lost Alex Karev, played by Justin Chambers. While Karev left to be with his ex-wife, Izzie Stevens, Chambers said he was leaving the show to diversify his acting roles.

Ellen Pompeo, who plays Meredith Grey, tweeted saying it was emotional saying goodbye to these characters, but she was grateful that Sarah Drew returned to the show to give Jackson a proper farewell. Drew reprised her role as April Kepner on last night’s episode, her first appearance on the show since leaving in season 14.

Williams will make his final appearance as Jackson on the episode titled “Tradition” on Thursday, May 20.

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