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Jesse Williams to Exit ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Longtime series regular will have his final episode on May 20

Jackson Avery is checking out of Grey Sloan Memorial.

“Grey’s Anatomy” star Jesse Williams is exiting the ABC medical drama later this month, leaving after more than a decade with the show, TheWrap has confirmed. His final episode will air on May 20.

“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,” showrunner Krista Vernoff said in a statement. “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 joined the series for Season 6 and was promoted to series regular the following year. His character was a fan-favorite along with Sarah Drew’s April Kepner, who was written off the series ahead of Season 15. Drew returned a heavily teased appearance on Thursday’s episode to give fans a final farewell to the on-screen relationship.

Williams’ exit comes as “Grey’s Anatomy” awaits a formal pickup for Season 18. The show has not yet been renewed, but is expected to return for another season pending new deals with several of its main cast members, including series star Ellen Pompeo.

“I will forever be grateful for the boundless opportunities provided me by Shonda, the network, studio, fellow cast mates, our incredible crew, Krista, Ellen and Debbie,” Williams said. “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.”

Deadline first reported the news of Williams’ exit.