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'Grey's Anatomy' Star Leaving the Show TVLine

One of the stars of the ABC medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” -- the actor whose spectacular entrance during season two earned his character the nickname “McSteamy” -- is leaving the show, TVLine.com reports.

Eric Dane, who plays Dr. Mark Sloan, has announced his departure from the series. His character will reportedly make a few appearances during the upcoming ninth season to wrap things up.

The story reports: “Dane’s ‘Grey’s’ doc made quite a memorable entrance at the tail end of the show’s second season -- punctuated by his emergence from Addison’s (Kate Walsh) steamy hotel bathroom, clad in nothing but a strategically placed towel. The sequence became one of the season’s biggest watercooler moments and led the hottie plastic surgeon to be dubbed ‘McSteamy.’ It also prompted [Shonda] Rhimes to bring him back the following season as a full-time series regular.”

Dane told the website, “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. It has been wonderful to work alongside and learn from a creative force such as Shonda Rhimes.”

Rhimes gave TVLine a statement in which she called McSteamy “one of the most beloved characters on 'Grey’s Anatomy.' [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."

Dane’s departure comes on the heels of exits by Chyler Leigh (Lexie) and Kim Raver (Teddy). The other major cast members are expected to remain with the show for at least the next two years.

Gaius Charles (“Friday Night Lights”) and Camilla Luddington (“True Blood”) are joining the show. "Grey’s Anatomy" begins season nine on Thursday, Sept. 27.