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It’s a beautiful day to say goodbye?

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Star Patrick Dempsey, popular for his stint as Dr Derek ‘McDreamy’ Shepherd, is set to exit the Shonda Rhimes drama Grey’s Anatomy, reported Entertainment Weekly. Dempsey’s character will be written out of the series during Thursday’s episode, which is aptly titled How to Save a Life, paying homage to the show’s unofficial theme song.

For the most sought-after Grey’s Anatomy star Dempsey, the choice to exit the medical drama comes early, as he still had a year remaining on his contract, which would have kept him with the Thursday-night staple through its yet unannounced 12th season.

In a statement, Rhimes said, “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’,” reported She further stated, “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.”

Commenting on Dempsey’s departure, ABC issued a statement, which read, “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. ‘McDreamy’ will be greatly missed and we wish Patrick the very best in his future endeavors.”

Dempsey and his leading lady Ellen Pompeo, two of television’s highest-paid stars, finalised new two-year deals in January last year, which would have kept the beloved duo on the show through the 2015 to 2016 season, reported Hollywood Reporter. Derek and Meredith have been the show’s protagonist duo since the pilot. It has been speculated that this year would focus on Meredith and her ability to stand on her own, without Cristina and Derek’s support.

Derek Shepherd’s most memorable quotes

1. Killing people is inhumane. Denying him painkillers is a judgment call.

2. Meredith, I want your crappy babies, all of them.

3. It’s a beautiful day to save lives.

4. Every medical advancement started with the statement, ‘That sounds crazy’.

5. We saved a life, that’s never a waste. 

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