‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Creator Shonda Rhimes on Patrick Dempsey’s Shocking Exit: ‘His Loss Will Be Felt By All’

Actor’s popular character McDreamy met his maker in Thursday’s episode of the ABC medical drama

Last Updated: April 23, 2015 @ 9:12 PM

In a twist that left longtime fans of “Grey’s Anatomy” grieving on Thursday night, popular original castmember Patrick Dempsey‘s character Derek Shepherd was killed off in a car crash.

Series creator Shonda Rhimes immediately released a statement following the show’s East Coast airing.

Below are her remarks:

“Derek Shepherd is and will always be an incredibly important character — for Meredith, for me and for the fans. I absolutely never imagined saying goodbye to our “McDreamy.” Patrick Dempsey‘s performance shaped Derek in a way that I know we both hope became a meaningful example — happy, sad, romantic, painful and always true — of what young women should demand from modern love. His loss will be felt by all. Now, Meredith and the entire Grey’s Anatomy family are about to enter uncharted territory as we head into this new chapter of her life. The possibilities for what may come are endless. As Ellis Grey would say: ‘the carousel never stops turning.'” 

There has been mounting speculation that Dempsey would be exiting “Grey’s Anatomy” after Season 11, and on Thursday’s episode McDreamy broke fans’ hearts once again with his shocking exit.

After over a decade on the hit ShondaLand medical drama, Dr. Shepherd came to the rescue for the last time — saving lives before ultimately losing his own — during the aptly-named episode “How to Save a Life.”

Following an absence from the ABC show with McDreamy having been shipped off to Washington D.C., his character dominated every scene on Thursday night — right up to the shocking twist when he died.

Dempsey has discussed his Grey’s exit before, telling the Portland Press Herald in November 2014 that he was leaving the show “very soon.”