AceShowbiz - Fans of "Grey's Anatomy" may not be happy with this news. The Thursday, May 6 episode of the long-running medical drama hinted at Dr. Jackson Avery's pending exit from Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital as Jesse Williams is exiting the show after 12 years.
Jesse's character will be seen on the show for the last time in an upcoming episode titled "Tradition", which is set to air on May 20. Confirming the departure news, executive producer/showrunner Krista Vernoff said in a statement, "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," Krista went on to say.
In a statement to E! News, Jesse said that he "will forever be grateful for the boundless opportunities provided me by Shonda [Rhimes], the network, studio, fellow cast mates, our incredible crew, Krista, Ellen and Debbie [Allen]." He went on to share, "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."
"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," he added.
Prior to this, Giacomo Giannotti, who played Andrew DeLuca, left the show. The boyfriend of Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) died after being stabbed by an attempted kidnapper in an crossover episode of "Station 19" and "Grey's Anatomy". In January, Justin Chambers' Dr. Alex Karev also departed from the show after 16 seasons. The actor stated that he left the show to "diversify my acting roles and career choices."