Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes and T.R. Knight have confirmed that Knight is leaving the ABC drama.
"Leaving Grey's Anatomy was not an easy decision for me to make," Knight said in a statement on Friday. "I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to play this character [Dr. George O'Malley] and will miss my fellow cast and crew very much. I continue to wish them the very best, and wholeheartedly thank all of the fans who have supported me and the show with such passion and enthusiasm."
Reports had speculated Knight asked out of his contract three years early in the wake of lackluster storylines for George. Rhimes has attributed Knight's lack of storylines to "the ebbs and flows" of working with an ensemble cast.
In her own statement confirming Knight's departure, Rhimes said, "I think I speak for the entire Grey's Anatomy family when I say we wish T.R. Knight the best in his future endeavors. He is an incredibly talented actor and a person whose strength of character is admired by all of us."
In the May season finale, George — while en route to a new career as an Army medic — was hit by a bus and profoundly and critically disfigured in the process. The character's fate likely will be revealed to have died. Rhimes has dismissed any talk of recasting the role with a new actor as "ridiculous."
Katherine Heigl was also suspected to be leaving Grey's, but recent reports indicate the actress will return as Izzie come Season 6.