Eric Dane Is Leaving Greys Anatomy
Posted on Fri Jul 27, 2012 08:00 AM PDT

edane060611_01_200.jpg LOS ANGELES, California (X17online) - Eric Dane is leaving ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy.

The actor made his announcement Thursday, telling TV in a statement, "I am grateful to everyone at Grey's, ABC and Shondaland for the experience and memories I have had over the course of this run. It has been wonderful to work alongside and learn from a creative force such as Shonda Rhimes."

Dane's character Dr. Mark Slone (aka "McSteamy") will not be completely gone when the show heads into their ninth season on Sept. 27. Although his love Lexie (played by Chyler Leigh) died in a plane crash last season finale, Dane is expected to survive and return for a send off.

His decision was not made lightly, show creator Shonda Rhimes explains. "After much consideration and conversations, he and I have decided that this is the right time for his storyline to end. We're a big family here at Grey's with a long history together and Eric will always remain an important part of our family," she said in her own statement.

In addition to Dane, Kim Raver will also be leaving the series.