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August 23, 2018 01:50 PM

Jim Parsons may reportedly be the reason behind The Big Bang Theory ending, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t feeling emotional about saying goodbye.

The actor, 45, penned an emotional message about the end of the beloved CBS comedy on Thursday, his note coming along with a group photo taken on set with costars Johnny GaleckiKaley CuocoSimon HelbergKunal NayyarMayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch.

“It is hard (nearly impossible, actually) to really accept that this is a picture of the first of the final 24 episodes we will shoot for The Big Bang Theory,” Parsons wrote. “I feel very fortunate that we have another 23 episodes to shoot this season because I am hopeful that with each and every one, my level of REALLY accepting this fact will sink in.”

“And while I know that they already know it, it bears repeating again and again: I am so terribly grateful for the cast in this picture and the cast members who aren’t pictured here — whether they were in one scene or many episodes along the way; you are all my playmates that I have fallen in love with and who have become a part of my life on set and off,” he continued. “You are my playmates when we don’t feel like playing but have to because it’s our job to get out there and communicate and pretend we’re these other fictional people and we look into each other’s eyes and say these words and end up creating this weird, other reality that has enriched my life more than I will fully ever understand. I will miss all of you and all of this more than I can say and more than I can know at this time.”

The long note also included tributes to The Big Bang Theory‘s crew and writers.

“I feel grateful to our crew — many, many of whom have been with us since day one — and who are the people who bring a sense of steadiness and dependability, who are so warm and kind and always quick to say hello and smile at us every time we come to the set and who, even though you don’t see them on TV, are in many ways the real and steady heartbeat that keeps this body of work alive and breathing while we, like flailing arms and legs, act like jacka—es and fools in attempt to make someone laugh,” he said.

“I am so grateful to all the writers of our show — those with us now and those that have come and gone — because, without them, there would literally be no Big Bang Theory at all, ever,” he continued. “The writers thought of this show, the writers created these characters, the writers are the only ones who found ways to keep coming up with organic, entertaining ways to keep the life of this show going which is a task much, much more challenging than anyone other than them will ever know or understand.”

Jim Parsons
Michael Yarish/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

RELATED: The Big Bang Theory Officially Ending After Season 12, Promises ‘Epic’ Series Finale

And of course, none of The Big Bang Theory‘s success would have been possible without the show’s viewers, who often made the sitcom the no. 1 on television — and Parsons made sure to thank them, too.

“Something else I feel grateful for — and this gratitude needs not time to ‘sink in’ or become more ‘realized;’ this grateful-feeling is always with me but is multiplies in this moment of us announcing our final season — but I feel such intense gratitude for our devoted viewers who are the ACTUAL reason we have been graced with the opportunity to explore these characters for 12 years of our lives,” he wrote.

Jim Parsons, Mayim Bialik, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco
Monty Brinton/CBS

Parson’s note came hours after Entertainment Weekly reported that CBS was trying to negotiate two more seasons for the show — talks that ended when Parsons decided to walk away.

Though the star won four Emmys and one Golden Globe for the role — and was said to be earning nearly $1 million per episode — he said he was no longer interested in continuing on as the eccentric Dr. Sheldon Cooper, EW reported, effectively killing the series.

CBS had no comment on the report. A rep for Parsons did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

In a joint statement on Wednesday, Warner Bros. Television, CBS and Chuck Lorre Productions said, “We are forever grateful to our fans for their support of The Big Bang Theory during the past twelve seasons. We, along with the cast, writers and crew, are extremely appreciative of the show’s success and aim to deliver a final season, and series finale, that will bring The Big Bang Theory to an epic creative close.”

The cast of The Big Bang Theory
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Meanwhile, tributes from other cast members have been pouring in online.

“This ride has been a dream come true and as life changing as it gets,” wrote Cuoco on Instagram. “No matter when it was going to end, my heart would have always been broken in two. Drowning in tears, we promise to bring you the best season yet. To the fans, our crew, families, Chuck Lorre, Warner Brothers, CBS, and everyone who has supported us for so many years, thank you. We are goin out with a bang.”

Nayyar also shared a heartfelt post with fans on Instagram.

“As you may already know… and for those of you who don’t. This will officially be Big Bang Theory’s last season,” he wrote. “After season 12 we will be the longest running multi camera sitcom in the history of television. There are no words in any language that can describe what my heart wants to say… The love that I feel for all of you is boundless. Without you the fans there would be no us. Tonight I sleep with a prayer of gratitude on my lips. This isn’t goodbye… yet… still 23 eps to shoot!”

The final season of The Big Bang Theory premieres Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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