March 6 (UPI) -- Grey's Anatomy is saying goodbye to fan-favorite character Alex Karev.
Showrunner Krista Vernoff spoke out Thursday on Twitter following the farewell episode for Karev, played by Justin Chambers.
Vernoff said Karev (Chambers) was deeply loved by fans and will be missed on the show.
"It is nearly impossible to say goodbye to Alex Karev. That is as true for me and for all of the writers at Grey's Anatomy as it is for the fans. We have loved writing Alex. And we have loved watching Justin Chambers' nuanced portrayal of him," Vernoff wrote.
Chambers starred as Karev for 16 seasons, and appeared in his final episode in November. Vernoff reflected on how the character has grown since the show first premiered in 2005.
"For 16 seasons, 16 years, we have grown up alongside Alex Karev. We have been frustrated by his limitations and we have been inspired by his growth and we have come to love him deeply and to think of him as one of our very best friends," she said. "We will miss him terribly. And we will always be grateful for his impact, on our show, on our hearts, on our fans, on the world."
In Thursday's episode, fans learned Karev's fate via letters he wrote to Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), Jo Karev (Camilla Luddington), Richard Webber (James Pickens, Jr.) and Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson). Karev said he was with Izzie Stevens, played by Katherine Heigl in Seasons 1-6, and was raising their two kids in Kansas.
The farewell episode did not feature new footage of Chambers as Karev. ABC shared a reel of Karev on the show Thursday on Twitter.
"Thank you for stepping in and being our person. Farewell, Dr. Alex Karev. #GreysAnatomy," the post reads.
Chambers announced his exit from Grey's Anatomy in January, saying he hopes to "diversify" his acting roles and career choices.