Why Is Jesse Williams Leaving ‘Grey’s Anatomy’? His Final Episode Is Coming

Another iconic doctor is saying goodbye to Grey Sloan Memorial. After over a decade of playing Jackson Avery, Jesse Williams is leaving Grey’s Anatomy. And his exit is super soon: Williams’ final episode, fittingly titled "Traditions," will air on Thursday, May 20.

"As an actor, director and person, I have been obscenely lucky to learn so much from so many and I thank our beautiful fans, who breathe so much energy and appreciation into our shared worlds," Williams said in a statement to Deadline. "The experience and endurance born of creating nearly 300 hours of leading global television is a gift I’ll carry always. I am immensely proud of our work, our impact and to be moving forward with so many tools, opportunities, allies, and dear friends."

Jackson’s departure was hinted at in the May 6 episode "Look Up Child," when he decided to take over his family foundation in hopes of creating "real racial equality in medicine." He had to commit to moving to Boston to do so, and his newly single ex-wife — and soulmate, thank you very much — April (Sarah Drew) also agreed to live there with their daughter Harriet, so it seems like Japril’s happy ending might finally be in sight.

The return of many fan-favorites and the fact that showrunner Krista Vernoff is writing a season finale that could also serve as a series finale has made some Grey’s Anatomy fans question whether Season 17 would be the end of the beloved medical drama. While ABC hasn’t made an announcement regarding a potential Season 18, Williams seems confident the show could continue on for years to come.

"I remember six years ago being like, ‘Yeah, two more years makes sense.” And then two more years and then two more years," he said in a February 11 interview with People. "And I made a joke earlier that Grey’s is like betting against Tom Brady — you just don’t do it. Obviously people are riveted. If it was easy to keep a show going on this long… everybody would do it."

It’s almost time to say goodbye to Jackson, but here’s hoping his final outing at Grey Sloan Memorial is everything fans want and more.

Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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