'Grey's Anatomy' Season 9: Eric Dane exits Seattle Grace

eric-dane-greys-anatomy.jpgNoooooooo!

Ahem. Excuse us. The rumors are true, "Grey's Anatomy" fans -- Mark Sloan, who has been a significant character since Season 2, will no longer be a part of the "Grey's Anatomy" drama in Season 9. Eric Dane has decided to move on from the show to pursue other activities, according to TVLine.

"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 tells the site. "It has been wonderful to work alongside and learn from a creative force such as Shonda Rhimes."

When we last saw Mark, he had just lost the love of his life, Lexie (Chyler Leigh) in a plane crash. His prognosis didn't look too good, either, as he suffered from massive internal injuries and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) begged him to fight for his life for the sake of their daughter.

Luckily, Mark won't just disappear -- and probably won't die out in the wilderness. Dane has agreed to return to "Grey's Anatomy" for several episodes at the beginning of Season 9 so that Mark can have a proper send-off.

"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," says executive producer Shonda Rhimes, noting that Dane did not come to his decision to leave lightly. "I wish him the best and I look forward to watching him as he continues to steam up the big and small screen."

We'll just be over here, mourning. "Grey's Anatomy" returns to ABC on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 9 p.m.
Photo/Video credit: ABC