'Grey's Anatomy' star Justin Chambers is leaving the show after 15 years

Chambers has played Dr. Alex Karev since the show's 2005 debut.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Gina Vivinetto

It's a sad day for "Grey's Anatomy" fans.

Justin Chambers has announced he's leaving the hit ABC medical drama after 15 years. The 49-year-old actor has played Dr. Alex Karev since the series debuted in 2005.

Chambers thanked the cast, crew and fans for an "extraordinary ride."Richard Cartwright / ABC

“There’s no good time to say goodbye to a show and character that’s defined so much of my life for the past 15 years,” Chambers said in a statement to TODAY. “For some time now, however, I have hoped to diversify my acting roles and career choices. And, as I turn 50 and am blessed with my remarkable, supportive wife and five wonderful children, now is that time.”

Chambers made sure to thank series creator Shonda Rhimes as well as his co-stars.

“As I move on from 'Grey’s Anatomy,' I want to thank the ABC family, Shonda Rhimes, original cast members Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson and James Pickens, and the rest of the amazing cast and crew, both past and present, and, of course, the fans for an extraordinary ride,” he said.

Fans last saw Chambers on the show's 350th episode, which aired Nov. 14. According to Deadline and other outlets, that was his final episode for the foreseeable future.