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Grey’s Anatomy’s Most Painful Goodbyes, From Christina Yang to Derek Shepard

You never forget a doctor’s final day on Grey’s Anatomy. The Shonda Rhimes medical drama has never shied away from killing off fan favorites — both literally and figuratively.

Related: Every Star Who’s Left ‘Grey’s Anatomy’: Where Are They Now?

Most recently, Justin Chambers, who played surgeon Alex Karev for 16 seasons, announced his departure from the series, and the goodbye is sure to leave fans devastated.

“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,” the 49-year-old actor said in statement to Deadline on January 10. “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.”

“As I move on from Grey’s Anatomy, I want to thank the ABC family, Shonda Rhimes, original cast members Ellen PompeoChandra 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,” he concluded.

Though the actor’s final episode aired on November 14, the ABC drama is planning what seems like an epically sad sendoff for Alex — Grey’s Anatomy style. Tears, earth-shattering screams, slow, acoustic covers of today’s top hits … you name it.

Related: TV’s Most Shocking Deaths: Major On-Screen Moments From Television Shows

If that sounds at all familiar, it’s because Grey’s has mastered the art of tugging at fans’ heartstrings.

Grey’s Anatomy’s Most Painful Character Deaths and Goodbyes
Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Katherine Heigl on Grey’s Anatomy ABC

When Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl) fell in love with patient Denny Duquette (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) during season 2, fans knew nothing good could come of it. Charming as he was — and as perfect for one another they might have been — Denny had congestive heart failure. It was just a matter of time until the writers killed him off.

Denny proposed to Izzie right after getting a heart transplant, but later that evening he developed a blood clot and died of a stroke. “An hour ago he was proposing,” Izzie says in the heartbreaking scene. Surrounded by her peers, she lays on the bed beside him, refusing to leave. “And now he’s going to the morgue. Isn’t that ridiculous?”

Related: Shocking TV Exits

Elsewhere in the series, deaths like those of Derek Shepard (Patrick Dempsey) and Dylan Young (guest star Kyle Chandler) shocked Grey’s fans everywhere.

Check out the video above to see what we mean! And grab some tissues while you’re at it.

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