Shonda Rhimes Addresses Derek Dying On 'Grey's Anatomy' & Yes, He's Really Gone

I still can't believe they really did it. After last week's fakeout, Grey's Anatomy killed off Derek Shepherd during Thursday night's episode, and I can't be the only person still in complete shock. I also can't be the only person hoping that somehow, it wasn't real, but unfortunately, it looks like from now, we will be watching Grey's Anatomy without McDreamy. What really solidified it? Shonda Rhimes addressed Derek's death in a statement with a tone of such finality, it's clear this is her way of helping to bring closure to heartbroken fans. The statement reads as follows.

Derek Shepherd is and will always be an incredibly important character—for Meredith, for me and for the fans. I absolutely never imagined saying goodbye to our 'McDreamy.' Patrick Dempsey's performance shaped Derek in a way that I know we both hope became a meaningful example—happy, sad, romantic, painful and always true—of what young women should demand from modern love. His loss will be felt by all. Now, Meredith and the entire Grey's Anatomy family are about to enter uncharted territory as we head into this new chapter of her life. The possibilities for what may come are endless. As Ellis Grey would say: the carousel never stops turning.

A few phrases stand out from this: "Goodbye," "uncharted territory," "new chapter." And then of course, there's the past tense. So don't expect any miracles to come in next week's episode. Instead, we'll likely have to watch as Meredith has to come to terms with her husband's death, and begins to adjust to life without him.

ABC also issued a statement, thanking Dempsey for his work over the past 11 seasons and explaining that he is "moving on to pursue other interests." It seems like everyone involved with Grey's Anatomy is giving Dempsey a proper sendoff, and while he certainly deserves this thanks and recognition, it's only making the truth sink in: Derek Shepherd is dead, and just like Meredith, we have to get used to life without him.

Image: Adam Taylor/ABC