If you’re a fan of Grey’s Anatomy, you’ll know the series has left us with its fair share of heartbreaks (McDreamy, anyone?), and this week we’ve gotten yet another gut-wrenching update from Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital: Jesse Williams, who has spent more than a decade as Dr Jackson Avery, announced his departure from the series on May 7.
The actor revealed his final episode would air on May 20, 2021, titled “Tradition”, and honestly, we’re crying over the news.
“I will forever be grateful for the boundless opportunities provided me by Shonda, the network, studio, fellow castmates, our incredible crew, Krista, Ellen and Debbie,” the 39-year-old actor said in a statement, per People, referencing Shonda Rhimes, showrunner Krista Vernoff, and co-stars Ellen Pompeo and Debbie Allen.
“As an actor, director and person, I have been obscenely lucky to learn so much from so many and I thank our beautiful fans, who breathe so much energy and appreciation into our shared worlds,” he continued. “The experience and endurance born of creating nearly 300 hours of leading global television is a gift I’ll carry always. I am immensely proud of our work, our impact and to be moving forward with so many tools, opportunities, allies and dear friends.”
On top of being a regular in the series since season six, Williams has also directed episodes of Grey’s as well as gone on to produce other projects outside of the medical drama—notably, winning the Academy Award for his live-action short film, Two Distant Strangers, at the 2021 ceremony.
News of Dr Avery’s departure is particularly bittersweet for fans, as Williams’ former on-screen love interest April (played by Sarah Drew) returned for an episode earlier this month.