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Some fans may have been shocked by Eric Dane's announcement that he is leaving popular medical drama Grey's Anatomy, but Shonda Rhimes says she wasn't surprised to hear the news.

“It was a thing that Eric had been thinking about for a while, but it felt like the right time to him," the series creator told Entertainment Weekly. “I love Eric, and Eric and I have been working together for a very long time, so it was bittersweet. I’m happy he’s going to go on and do other things, but I’m really sad to not be able to work with him every day.”

OK! NEWS: ERIC DANE IS LEAVING GREY'S ANATOMY

Last season's finale plane crash left a lot of the characters' fates unknown. Although Eric is slated to tape two episodes for next season, Shonda warns that shouldn't be seen as evidence that he survived the crash.

“When we start the season, we are ahead enough in time where we see the outcome of lots of things. And in the second episode of the season, there’s rewind — we go backwards — to where they’re still in the forest,” she shares. “So you see what happened and in the next episode, you see how we get there. That was a really great experiment for us, and we think it turned out really, really well.”

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Shonda also said she plans to fill Eric's absence with Justin Chambers and Jesse Williams. So, if you're an Alex or Jackson fan, this news might help heal the burn of Eric's departure a little bit.

“I think the breed of what Eric Dane did can never be replaced, but I do think there’s some room for some men at the hospital to spread their wings. We haven’t seen that in a while," Shonda said.

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