Patrick Dempsey Exits Grey's Anatomy; ABC, Shonda Rhimes Issue Statements

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A mere 90 minutes after news leaked that Patrick Dempsey was leaving Grey's Anatomy, viewers witnessed the tragic way in which Derek Shepherd was written off the series:

On Grey's Anatomy Season 11 Episode 21, the McDreamiest doctor of them all was killed after being hit by a semi.

Meredith is now a widow, an 11-year run for Dempsey has come to an end and fans are left to deal with yet another core cast member departing the drama.

Said creator Shonda Rhimes in a statement soon after the hour ended:

"Derek Shepherd is and will always be an incredibly important character – for Meredith, for me and for the fans. I absolutely never imagined saying goodbye to our ‘McDreamy.’

"Patrick Dempsey’s performance shaped Derek in a way that I know we both hope became a meaningful example – happy, sad, romantic, painful and always true – of what young women should demand from modern love. His loss will be felt by all.

"Now, Meredith and the entire Grey’s Anatomy family are about to enter uncharted territory as we head into this new chapter of her life. The possibilities for what may come are endless. As Ellis Grey would say: the carousel never stops turning."

ABC even added a statement of its own regarding the loss of Dempsey:

After 11 seasons on Grey’s Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey is moving on to pursue other interests. Dr. Derek Shepherd is an iconic character and we’ve been proud to be the home of ‘McDreamy’ and the ‘Mer/Der’ love story.

The devotion of Grey’s fans throughout the years has been a testament to the creative mind of Shonda Rhimes and Dempsey’s talent. ‘McDreamy’ will be greatly missed and we wish Patrick the very best in his future endeavors.

What do you think, Grey's Anatomy Fanatics? Are you shocked? Flabbergasted? Crying all over your computer screen right now?

Do you wish Dempsey (who hasn't been shy in recent years after his desire to move on) had been written out in different fashion?

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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