Grey's Anatomy: The Most Shocking (and Heartbreaking) Deaths
Throughout the past 17 seasons of Grey's Anatomy, viewers have mourned the loss of many fan-favorite characters. Here's a look at some of the show's most shocking — and heartbreaking — deaths
Dr. Andrew DeLuca
Dr. Andrew DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti), a general surgeon resident at Grey Sloan Memorial who also had a romantic connection to Meredith Grey, was stabbed and killed in his attempt to pursue and expose a sex trafficker in season 17. "So much I could say… but all that comes to mind is thank you," he wrote after his final episode. "Thank you to all the fans who loved Deluca as much as I did. Telling his story was and will be one of the great honors of my life. Thank you."
Due to years of alcoholism, Meredith's estranged father Thatcher Grey (Jeff Perry) died from Acute Myeloid Leukemia. His relationship with Meredith was full of ups and downs, but in the end, Meredith was by his side when he took his final breath in season 15.
Dr. Derek Shepherd
Fans may never recover from this one. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) — aka McDreamy, aka Meredith's one true love — died in a car accident in season 11. "The decision to have the character die the way he did was not a difficult one in the sense of, what were the options," show creator Shonda Rhimes said in 2015. "Whether Derek was going to walk out on Meredith and leave her high and dry, that was going to suggest that the love was not true, that the love they had for 11 years was a lie, and McDreamy wasn't McDreamy." She continued: "As painful as it was for me as a storyteller, the only way to preserve what felt true to me is that Derek was going to die in order for that love to remain honest." Since his death, Dempsey's character made multiple cameos in season 17, during Meredith's dream sequences.
Dr. Reed Adamson
Dr. Reed Adamson (Nora Zehetner) arrived at Grey Sloan Memorial (back then, Seattle Grace Hospital) in season 10 as a surgical resident from Mercy West. Reed was shot and murdered by grieving widower Gary Clark — who was seeking revenge and on the hunt for Dr. Derek Shepherd, Lexie Grey and Richard Webber — in the season's dramatic finale.
Dr. Charles Percy
Similar to Dr. Adamson, Charles (Robert Baker) was also murdered by Gary Clark in season 10. Charles was working on patient Mary Portman (Mandy Moore) during the hospital lockdown. When Clark entered the room, he asked Charles if he was a surgeon. After Charles said he was a surgeon, Clark shot him. Dr. Miranda Bailey — who was hiding underneath a hospital bed at the time of the shooting — immediately tried to help Charles. She held him while he took his last breath.
Dr. Heather Brooks
Dr. Heather Brooks (Tina Majorino), a new intern introduced in season 9, died by electrocution after selflessly searching for Richard Webber during the super storm in season 10.
Adele Webber (Loretta Devine), who was Dr. Richard Webber's first wife, suffered from Alzheimer's towards the end of her journey on Grey's Anatomy. After successfully undergoing surgery for a brain aneurysm, Adele eventually died of a heart attack in season 9.
Dr. Mark Sloan
Dr. Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) — a.k.a. McSteamy — was involved in a deadly plane crash (with fellow surgeons Arizona Robbins, Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, Derek Shepherd and love interest, Lexie Grey) at the end of season 8. After the crash, Sloan spent two months in the hospital, only waking up once, and eventually fell into a coma. After 30 days on a life support machine, his best friend Derek Shepherd and the mother of his daughter, Callie Torres, decided to take him off life support.
Dr. Lexie Grey
Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh), Meredith Grey's younger half-sister, wasn't so lucky when it came to the plane crash. Lexie was trapped underneath a piece of aircraft in the season 8 finale. After her death (and Mark's), the hospital was renamed Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
Henry Burton (Scott Foley) first came to Grey Sloane Memorial as a patient with Von-Hippel-Lindau syndrome without insurance and in need of surgery. Dr. Teddy Altman (Kim Raver) proposed to Henry so he could legally be on her insurance and get the surgery he needed. After a successful surgery, Henry and Teddy began to develop feelings for one another and their relationship eventually turned romantic. However, in season 8, it was revealed Henry had a tumor near his heart, causing bleeding in his lungs and trachea. He underwent surgery but ended up dying on the table.
Dr. George O'Malley
After years of working towards his surgical residency, Dr. George O'Malley shocked fans by joining the army to be a trauma surgeon at the end of season 5. However, in true George fashion, he jumped in front of a bus to save a woman's life and ended up dying at the hospital. George, who was briefly married to Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) and had a fling with Izzie Stevens, has made a couple cameos throughout the seasons in various dream sequences.
Ellis Grey (Kate Burton), the mother of Meredith Grey and Maggie Pierce, was a world-renowned surgeon who suffered from Alzheimer's towards the end of her life. Her relationship with Meredith was always complicated, but nevertheless, she loved her daughter and only wanted what was best for her. She died in season 3 after coding but has since made multiple cameos in flashbacks and dream sequences.
Denny Duquette (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy, came to Seattle Grace as a patient awaiting a heart transplant. During his time there, he developed a romantic relationship with Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl). Through his medical ups and downs, Denny finally was next in line for a heart, however, the donor flatlined. In order to get Denny to the top of the donor list again, Izzie cut his LVAD wire, which forced her to manually pump his heart. After a successful transplant surgery (and a proposal to Izzie), Denny ended up dying from a stroke in season 2.