June 19, 2009 / 10:04 PM / 10 years ago

T.R. Knight leaving "Grey's Anatomy"

Actor T.R. Knight waits before the beginning of a symbolic group commitment ceremony for same-sex couples in West Hollywood, California, June 4, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Television network ABC on Friday said popular actor T.R. Knight will not return to hit hospital drama “Grey’s Anatomy” when new episodes hit U.S. airwaves this coming season.

“Leaving ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ was not an easy decision for me to make,” Knight said in a statement. “I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to play this character 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,” he said.

Knight had previously asked to be released from his contract on the show, and in the season finale in May, his character, Dr. George O’Malley, lost his heartbeat after being hit by a bus.

“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,” the show’s creator/executive producer Shonda Rhimes said in a statement. “He is an incredibly talented actor and a person whose strength of character is admired by all of us.”

Unlike Knight, the other “Grey’s” co-star whose life was left hanging in the balance in the season-ending cliffhanger episode, Katherine Heigl, will return to the show in the fall.

Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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