When enough stars leave a series, you’d think it might be time to throw in the towel.  ‘The Office‘ doesn’t seem to be able to take the hint, but now ‘Grey’s Anatomy‘ is about to amputate its arguably most well-received leading man.  No, don’t worry, Patrick Dempsey will still be around, but Seattle Grace Hospital is about to lose some serious steam when Eric Dane leaves the series for ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ season 9.  But will his exit be addressed?

After seven seasons, McSteamy is throwing in the towel, TVLine has learned.  Longtime ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ heartthrob Eric Dane will exit the series in its ninth season, hanging up his character Dr. Mark Sloan.  Fans of the series will remember that while the good doctor did indeed survive the plane crash of season 8 finale “Flight,” Sloan was heartbroken to see that his love interest Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh) would ultimately succumb to her injuries.

On the bright side, inside sources say that Dane will at least return for a few episodes, in order to properly send the character off.  “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,” Dane says. “It has been wonderful to work alongside and learn from a creative force such as Shonda Rhimes.”

Dane’s isn’t the only departure for the coming ninth season of ‘Grey’s, after Leigh and fellow series regular Kim Raver (Teddy).  Indeed, Shonda Rhimes’ various ABC series have seen a rash of departures, including ‘Private Practice‘s Tim Daly, and ‘Scandal’s Henry Ian Cusick.  Says the show-runner, “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. I wish him the best and I look forward to watching him as he continues to steam up the big and small screen.”

What say you?  Do you think ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ will survive without Dane’s anatomy…er…character?  Should the series come to a close?  Give us your thoughts in the comments below!

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