Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you haven't watched the season 13 finale of Grey's Anatomy. Read our full finale recap here.
Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes is speaking out about the latest cast departure.
Following Thursday's emotional season 13 finale, Rhimes revealed why series regular Jerrika Hinton -- who has played Dr. Stephanie Edwards since the veteran medical drama's ninth season -- said goodbye for good.
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"Actors evolve differently and when an actor like Jerrika comes to me and says she wants to try something new creatively, I like to honor that," she wrote in a statement posted to Twitter.
"Jerrika has shared so much of herself with Stephanie and I am incredibly proud of the journey we've taken together. While I'm sad to see Stephanie leave Grey Sloan Hospital, I am excited to see what's next for Jerrika," Rhimes continued.
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In the finale, Stephanie survived the initial explosion that had Grey Sloan Memorial in chaos as her fellow doctors scrambled to find her and save their patients. After valiantly saving a little girl's leg and suffering severe burns to her arms and body, Stephanie made the life-changing decision to quit her position as a surgical resident and live life outside the hospital walls.
“I spent my whole life in hospitals, my whole life. I need to travel and hike and breathe,” an emotional Stephanie said to her mentor, Dr. Richard Webber (James Pickens, Jr.). “I want to breathe it all in, away from the monitors and the blood and the sterile counts and away from saving other people’s lives -- I want my own. This time, I live my own."
Will you miss Stephanie Edwards on Grey's Anatomy? Tell us in the comments or tweet us at @etnow!
Grey's Anatomy returns this fall on ABC.