Why Did Patrick Dempsey Leave Grey's Anatomy?

movies/tv, entertainment, abc, grey's anatomy
Grey's Anatomy via ABC

So why did the creators of Grey's Anatomy have to break our hearts and kill of Derek Shepherd anyway? We've taken a closer look!

Why Did Patrick Dempsey Leave Grey's Anatomy?

Grey's Anatomy via ABC

There's one thing every Grey's Anatomy fan can agree on-- we miss Derek! To this day we're still questioning why he even had to go in the first place. So what really happened to Derek?

It can be hard to remember how we finally ended up losing him. It seems like Grey's Anatomy gave Derek so many near-death experiences, we're not exactly sure when he actually ended up dying on us.

Everything was going great for Derek when his gig was cut short. He and Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) had finally started the family they had been working on, and his career as a nuerosurgeon was only looking up. So much has happened since the last time we saw Derek alive, it's easy to forget exactly where he left us.

How Derek Shepherd Died

Grey's Anatomy via ABC

In the season 11 episode "How to Save a Life," we see Derek on his way to the hospital, taking a shortcut of course. Without warning, a reckless driver speeds by and clips a minivan causing it to flip over. Derek witnesses the entire thing, and he can't help himself but jump out of his own car in attempt to save the people involved in the accident. He does his best to keep the occupants of the vehicle stable until the ambulance arrives and takes over.

Derek hops back in his car when his phone rings while it's jammed between the seats. As he fumbles to reach for his phone, he fails to notice a semi-truck headed right toward him. The truck t-bones his vehicle and we're cut out of the scene.

Derek is taken to a hospital in an ambulance and once he gets there, it's clear that the hospital is not prepared for him. He lies awake and unable to speak while the doctors attempt to treat him but seem to lack the proper training. They miss key steps in the process, the biggest one being not ordering a head CT. Derek knows this before he completely loses consciousness, and so does Meredith when she finally arrives at the hospital.

Meredith is forced to watch as Derek is removed from the machines keeping him alive. It was painful enough losing McDreamy, but watching Meredith say goodbye to him completely broke our hearts!

Shonda Rhimes Explains Why He Died

Grey's Anatomy via ABC

Although we have been left without answers as to why Dempsey ultimately left Grey's Anatomy, Rhimes has given us some insight as to why she had to kill him. According to Rhimes, since Dempsey's departure from the show was inevitable, she had to kill him because the other option would be to have him walk out. She says that having McDreamy walk out on Meredith was not an option for the show. The love between the two of them could not be tainted, so having him die was the only option.

That just sounds insanely cruel, but it makes sense to us! We would have hated even more to watch Derek walk out on Meredith and the kids and never see him again. The sad truth is that the death of Derek Shepherd might actually have been the best option for everyone.

Not everyone agrees with this, however. Pompeo didn't seem totally thrilled with the way Dempsey's exit was handled. It seems as if Pompeo felt that the entire process was too rushed. I mean, who can blame her! Meredith and Derek forever!

Will Patrick Dempsey Return To Grey's?

Grey's Anatomy via ABC

Unfortunately, there has been no indication from Dempsey or anyone involved in the future of Grey's Anatomy that Derek Shepherd will ever walk the halls of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital again. It seems as if the Grey's chapter of his career has been closed and will remain that way. Although we've had a great run with McDreamy and would love to see him back, all good things must come to an end.

WANT MORE GREY'S ANATOMY CONTENT? Check out and LIKE our Grey's Anatomy Facebook page for all things Grey's Anatomy!

We hope you love the products we recommend! Before you continue, we’d like you to know that there are affiliate links in this article. This means Women.com may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the following links. Prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.