Aug. 14, 2013 at 11:25 AM ET
Say goodbye to the late-night dance parties and soul-baring discussions in bed. Meredith Grey is losing her twisted sister and "person" Cristina Yang on "Grey's Anatomy." Original cast member Sandra Oh, who plays Yang, has confirmed she's leaving the hit medical drama in the upcoming 10th season.
"It's been a great privilege to play the character of Cristina Yang on 'GA,' and I am both sad and excited to see where this, her final season will take her," Oh said in a statement. "It was an emotional and deeply creative decision for me and I feel fully supported by (show creator) Shonda (Rhimes) and the writers. It's so rare in an actor's life to be able to explore and grow a character so fully, so completely. I am profoundly grateful to everyone at 'GA' for the opportunity. I'm excited to celebrate and cherish every moment of my final season on 'GA' with the fans who have made it all possible."
In a statement, Rhimes called the day that Oh came to audition for the part one of the best of her life. "Sandra Oh walked in my door to audition and forever changed the course of 'Grey's Anatomy' with her brilliant, nuanced portrayal of Cristina Yang," the show boss said. "This year is going to be bittersweet for us — we're both going to savor every moment of Cristina Yang and then we're going to give her the exit she deserves. And when Sandra walks out of my door, 'Grey's Anatomy' will once again be forever changed."
The actress told The Hollywood Reporter, which broke the news first, that she felt like she had given the role of the ambitious cardiothoracic surgeon her all creatively and was ready to say goodbye. "It's such an interesting thing to play a character for so long and to actually get the sense that she wants to be let go as well," Oh told the publication. "I am ready to let her go. We have to start the process, story-wise, for the 'Grey's' writers to think of why she's going to go."
Oh has been nominated for an Emmy five times for her portrayal of Yang. Throughout the drama's run, the character has had some heavy story lines, from suffering PTSD after a hospital shooting to surviving a plane crash to divorce and more.
Kevin McKidd, who plays Yang's ex-husband Dr. Owen Hunt, told THR, "Selfishly, I was hoping and wishing (Oh) might make a different choice and decide to stay because I love working with her. I've had the great fortune and luck to be her acting partner and for her to be my acting partner for the last half a decade."
Oh's exit from "Grey's Anatomy" may not be the last. The contracts of original cast members — Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Chandra Wilson, Justin Chambers and James Pickens Jr. — all expire at the end of the season.
Regardless of Oh's departure and whoever may follow in her footsteps, ABC has no plans to end the show. "It's our intention to have 'Grey's' on the air for many years to come, with as many of the original cast as possible," a rep from the network said.
"Grey's Anatomy" kicks off season 10 with a two-hour premiere at 9 p.m. on Sept. 26 on ABC.