Eric Dane Is Leaving Grey's Anatomy
07/26/2012 AT 06:00 PM EDT
The actor announced Thursday that he will not be returning to ABC's Grey's Anatomy, telling TVLine in a statement, "I am extremely 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."
The actor, who plays Dr. Mark Sloan (aka "McSteamy") on the drama, did not come to the decision to leave the show lightly, says show creator Rhimes.
"After much consideration and conversations, he and I have decided that this is the right time for his storyline to end," she told TVLine. "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."
According to the TVLine report, Dane, who has two young daughters with wife Rebecca Gayheart, won't be completely gone from Grey's Anatomy when it begins its ninth season on Sept. 27.
Though a plane crash claimed the life of his love Lexie (played by Chyler Leigh) during the season finale, Dane's character is expected to survive and return for a proper send-off, TVLine reports.
He is not the only castmember who will not be back for the next season. In addition to Leigh, Kim Raver also left the show.