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!

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Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Just because we can live without something, it doesn't mean we have to.

Meredith

Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

Meredith (closing voiceover)