Eric Dane is leaving Grey's Anatomy
The 39-year-old actor - who portrays Dr. Mark Sloan in the long-running medical drama - has thanked those behind the scenes and proclaimed the show's creator Shonda Rhimes as a "creative force."
He told TVLine.com: "I am extremely grateful to everyone at Grey's
, ABC and Sondaland for the experience and memories I have had over the course of this run. It has been wonderful to work alongside and learn from a creative force such as Shonda Rhimes."
She also praised his talent, and wished him the best for his future.
She said: "We're a big family here at Grey's
with a long history together and Eric will always remain an important part of our family. I wish him the best and I look forward to watching
him as he continues to steam up the big and small screen."
began in 2005 and the ninth series is due to begin on September 27, 2012. Eric - who is married to actress Rebecca Gayheart - joined the cast of the show in the 18th episode of the second season, but was so popular he was written in permanently. In recent years he has also starred in movies including Marley & Me