Does Mark Die on Grey's Anatomy?

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We know Eric Dane is leaving Grey's Anatomy, but is his character, Dr. Mark Sloan, leaving Seattle Grace for the great beyond? This Twitter pic from Patrick Dempsey certainly implies as much.

In teasing Dane's exit and the upcoming Season 9 forest flashback, Shonda Rhimes said just last week that that viewers should assume nothing about Mark’s fate. That's probably still true.

Still, the photo - taken down at ABC’s request, according to Dempsey - could be telling:

Dempsey Twitpic

It's all unclear as we head into September, but from what Shonda has hinted so far, the opener (see Grey's Anatomy Season 9 promo) could leave even more up in the air than usual.

“When we start the season, we are ahead enough in time where we see the outcome of lots of things. And in the second episode, there’s rewind - we go backwards - to where they’re still in the forest,” Rhimes said.

“So you see what happened and in the next episode, you see how we get there.”

What's your take on the image above? Is it part of the flashback? Or the “outcome”? Will Mark pass away, or recover after hospitalization and leave town in good health? Discuss below!

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Grey's Anatomy Quotes

It's harder to love somebody than to walk away from them.

Amelia

MEREDITH: "You don't get to call me a whore. When I met you, I thought I had found the person that I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I was done! All the boys and all the bars and all the obvious daddy issues, who cares? I was done. You left me. You chose Addison. I'm all glued back together now. I make no apologies for how I chose to repair what you broke. You don't get to call me a whore."
DEREK: "This thing with us is finished. It's over."
MEREDITH: "Finally."
DEREK: "Yeah, it's done."
MEREDITH: "It is done."