May 19 (UPI) -- The creator of Grey's Anatomy is speaking out on Jerrika Hinton's exit.
Shonda Rhimes explained the 35-year-old actress' departure in a post Thursday following the show's emotional Season 13 finale.
"Actors evolve differently and when an actor like Jerrika comes to me and says she wants to try something new creatively, I like to honor that," Rhimes wrote on Twitter.
"Jerrika has shared so much of herself with Stephanie and I am incredibly proud of the journey we've taken together. While I'm sad to see Stephanie leave Grey Sloan Hospital, I am excited to see what's next for Jerrika," she said.
Hinton played Stephanie Edwards in Seasons 9 through 13 of Grey's Anatomy. Her character quit her position as a surgical resident on Thursday's episode after helping save victims injured in the hospital explosion.
"I spent my whole life in hospitals, my whole life. I need to travel and hike and breathe," Stephanie told her mentor, Dr. Richard Webber (James Pickens, Jr.).
TVLine reported in January that Hinton would leave the ABC series after Season 13. The report followed news Hinton will star on Here, Now, a new HBO drama from Six Feet Under and True Blood creator Alan Ball.
"I am eternally thankful for five seasons of #GreysAnatomy and a graceful departure that underscores the courage it takes to choose yourself," the actress wrote Thursday on Instagram. "After all, it's not only the heroics that make her brave, it's her finally seeing (and seeking) a better path."
I am eternally thankful for five seasons of #GreysAnatomy and a graceful departure that underscores the courage it takes to choose yourself. That Stephanie literally walks through fire to reach freedom — her freedom — inspires me. It also makes me curious: What does freedom look like for you, dear viewer? After all, it’s not only the heroics that make her brave, it’s her finally seeing (and seeking) a better path. #onlyfreakingsuperheroes #takeyourpastandfindyourpath You fans and viewers are some of the most devoted folks I’ve ever met. Thank you for your endless energy. Bosslady Shonda, Queen Debbie, and entire the Grey’s Anatomy cast and crew forever remain in my heart. The #Shondaland family is a mighty, winding forest. I look forward to seeing you all in another clearing. 💚