Seattle Grace is down another doctor: Justin Chambers, who has played Dr. Alex Karev on the long-running drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” is exiting the series.
ABC spokesperson Janet Daily confirmed the news Friday, as did the actor in a statement to USA TODAY, issued by rep Stephen Hirsh.
“There’s no good time to say goodbye to a show and character that’s defined so much of my life for the past 15 years,” Chambers’ statement read.
“For some time now, however, I have hoped to diversify my acting roles and career choices. And, as I turn 50 and am blessed with my remarkable, supportive wife and five wonderful children, now is that time,” the statement continued.
“As I move on from ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ I want to thank the ABC family, Shonda Rhimes, original cast members Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson and James Pickens, and the rest of the amazing cast and crew, both past and present, and, of course, the fans for an extraordinary ride.”
With Chambers’ departure, the show, now in its 16th season, is down to just three original cast members from the series’ debut in 2005.
Chambers’ Karev, initially portrayed to be a jerk, quickly turned into a beloved character. Before “Grey’s” winter hiatus, we learned Karev’s wife, Jo, brought home a safe haven baby. Also this season, he helped Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) in keeping her medical license when she was under investigation.
“Grey’s Anatomy” returns Jan. 23 (ABC, 9 p.m. ET).
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Chambers, 49, celebrated a “Grey’s” milestone on Instagram in February.
“Cheers to 15 years, 332 episodes and making television history‼️” he exclaimed in a caption of cast photos through the years. “Tonight, @greysabc becomes the longest running medical drama📽🎬👩🏽⚕️ of all time. We appreciate all of our viewers, new and old, that have kept us on all of these years.
“Thank you to @shondarhimes for being a trailblazer, to @abcnetwork for giving us a home, and to all of the incredible castmates, crew members and writers throughout the years,” he added. “It takes a village.”
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