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'McSteamy' Eric Dane To Leave 'Grey's Anatomy'

7/27/2012 8:50am EDT

Grey's Anatomy

The upcoming ninth season of "Grey's Anatomy" will be the last for actor Eric Dane. The star has portrayed Dr. Mark "McSteamy" Sloan since 2006, but he has decided it's time move on.
He told, "I am extremely grateful to everyone at Grey's, (network) 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."
Creator Shonda Rhimes' has branded Sloan "one of the most beloved characters on Grey's Anatomy" and adds, "(Dane) did not come to this decision lightly, but 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. I wish him the best and I look forward to watching him as he continues to steam up the big and small screen."

The show returns Thursdays in September.

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Photo Credits: ABC