Thursday’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy, fittingly titled “How to Save a Life,” featured the heart-wrenching death of the veteran drama’s leading man, as Patrick Dempsey’s Derek Shepherd was killed off after an 11-year run. After witnessing a car crash, Derek saved the lives of those involved, only to have his own car struck by a truck as he left the scene. He was then taken to a sub-par hospital where the doctors weren’t properly trained to save his life, forcing Meredith to pull the plug on her husband’s life.


“Derek Shepherd is and will always be an incredibly important character — for Meredith, for me and for the fans,” Shonda Rhimes (show creator) said in a statement. “I absolutely never imagined saying goodbye to our McDreamy.’ 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. Now, Meredith and the entire Grey’s Anatomy family are about to enter uncharted territory as we head into this new chapter of her life.


It’s been a remarkable ride,” Dempsey told TVLine. “The worldwide impact has been extraordinary. It is incredible how devoted and passionate the fans are, and I will forever be grateful and humbled by the experience.”

His departure puts a major cap in Grey’s Anatomy’s first season without Sandra Oh, who opted not to return for season 11 following a 10-year run as Meredith’s best friend, Christina Yang. At the time, Rhimes told The Hollywood Reporter that she wanted “everybody for as long as they want to stay [with the series].”

Do you think Grey’s Anatomy will be the same without Doctor Shepard?

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