Grey's Anatomy


Hey, Grey's Anatomy fans have been through this before!

Original cast member Sandra Oh announced earlier today that she would be leaving the ABC hit medical drama after its upcoming tenth season. "It's been a great privilege to play the character of Cristina Yang on GA and I am both sad and excited to see where this, her final season will take her," Oh said in a statement, while series creator Shonda Rhimes added,  "I can't quantify how grateful I am for her collaboration on a character we both love so deeply."

But this isn't the first time an actor has left the hospital building...or the second...or the third! Many faces have come and gone throughout the past nine seasons, but we've compiled the five most shocking and high-profile Grey's Anatomy exits, including Katherine Heigl, Eric Dane and more...

Isaiah Washington

Washington, who played the prestigious Dr. Preston Burke, exited the hit series after making headlines for his use of homophobic slurs against co-star T.R. Knight during an on-set dispute with Patrick Dempsey. His character was last seen in season three leaving Cristina at the altar. After learning his contract was not being renewed, Washington issued a Network-inspired statement: "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore."

T.R. Knight

The actor, who was one of the original cast members, asked to be let out of his contract in December of 2009 after expressing his frustrations with his character George's lack of storylines. That June, George died in the season finale in one of the series' most shocking twists ever: He is actually the disfigured John Doe the Seattle Grace gang was attempting to save.

Katherine Heigl, Grey's Anatomy

ABC/Richard Cartwright

Katherine Heigl

After reportedly trying to get out of her contract for three years, Heigl got her wish in 2010 when it was confirmed that she would be leaving the ABC series. Izzie went out with more of a fizzle than a bang as she was fired after making an error that cost a patient their life and thought her husband Karev (Justin Chambers) had turned her in. She eventually returned to make amends, but he had already moved on, so she left. Again.

Heigl has expressed interest in returning to the ABC series, telling us, "I've told them I want to…I really, really, really want to see where [Izzie] is." However, a return doesn't seem likely after Heigl's infamous Emmy controversy, with Rhimes telling Oprah Winfrey, "When people show you who they are, believe them. I carry that [mantra] with me a lot. It has served me well."

Chyler Leigh

Deep breaths, deep breaths. Yes, we still get choked up just thinking about Meredith's (Ellen Pompeo) little sister Lexie's death by plane crash in the season eight finale. "This was not an easy decision. But it was a decision that Chyler and I came to together," Rhimes said at the time of Leigh's decision to leave the series after five seasons. "We had a lot of thoughtful discussion about it and ultimately we both decided this was the right time for her character's journey to end." Which was in the arms of her love Mark Sloan (Dane). Cue next shocking departure in 3...2...1...

Eric Dane

After Lexie's death in the season eight finale, we were all prepping for the worst, but hoping for the best when we caught up with McSteamy in the season nine premiere. Alas, Rhimes decided to pour a vat of salt in the collective wound of Mark and Lexie fans everywhere as he also died due to injuries sustained in the plane crash.

After Dane announced his departure, Rhimes called Mark "one of the most beloved characters" on the show and said the actor "did not come to this decision lightly, but after much consideration and conversations, he and I have decided that this is the right time for his storyline to end."

Which Grey's exit shocked you the most? Sound off in the comments!

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