Loss of beloved ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ character a nightmare for fans

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*SPOILER ALERT: Do not read any further if you don’t want to know what happened*

(CNN) — What just happened?

“Grey’s Anatomy” fans are still in shock after Thursday night’s heartbreaking episode called “How to Save a Life.”

Derek Shepherd, Dr. McDreamy, is dead. The victim of a car crash and substandard healthcare. Oh, the irony.

After 11 seasons, Patrick Dempsey is moving on to other things. The question is: Can the show’s fans.

A quick check of social media shows a lot of broken hearts will need some time to heal.

Show creator Shonda Rhimes, who wrote the episode, released this statement to TVLine about Dempsey’s departure:

“Derek Shepherd is and will always be an incredibly important character — for Meredith, for me and for the fans. I absolutely never imagined saying goodbye to our ‘McDreamy.’ Patrick Dempsey’s performance shaped Derek in a way that I know we both hope became a meaningful example — happy, sad, romantic, painful and always true — of what young women should demand from modern love. His loss will be felt by all. Now, Meredith and the entire Grey’s Anatomy family are about to enter uncharted territory as we head into this new chapter of her life. The possibilities for what may come are endless. As Ellis Grey would say: the carousel never stops turning.”