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Actor Eric Dane announced yesterday that he will leave ABC’s hit show ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ early in the upcoming ninth season.

In a statement to TVLine Dane said, “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.”

Eric portrayed Mark Sloan, aka Dr. McSteamy, on the popular medical drama.

Rhimes said, “After much consideration and conversations, he and I have decided that this is the right time for his storyline to end. 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.”

Season eight ended in a plane crash that claimed the life of Lexi (Chyler Leigh) and left Dane’s character seriously injured. Kim Raver’s character Teddy also departed the show in the finale.

In order to properly wrap up Mark Sloan’s story arc, Rhimes plans to give Dane’s character a proper send off during the opening weeks of season nine.

Dane is married to actress Rebecca Gayheart and they have two daughters together.

Photo Credit: WENN