T.R. Knight leaving 'Grey's Anatomy'

Actor had previously asked to be released from contract

ABC on Friday confirmed that T.R. Knight won't return to "Grey's Anatomy" next season.

"Leaving 'Grey's Anatomy' was not an easy decision for me to make," Knight said in a statement. "I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to play this character and will miss my fellow cast and crew very much. I continue to wish them the very best, and wholeheartedly thank all of the fans who have supported me and the show with such passion and enthusiasm."

Knight had previously asked to be released from his contract on the show, and in the season finale in May, his character, Dr. George O'Malley, flat-lined after being hit by a bus.

"I think I speak for the entire 'Grey's Anatomy' family when I say we wish T.R. Knight the best in his future endeavors," the show's creator/executive producer Shonda Rhimes said in a statement. "He is an incredibly talented actor and a person whose strength of character is admired by all of us."

Unlike Knight, the other "Grey's" co-star whose life was left hanging in the balance in the season finale, Katherine Heigl, will return to the show in the fall after her option was picked up.