Grey's Anatomy to Address Justin Chambers' Exit from Show in Next Week's Episode

Christina Dugan

ABC will address Justin Chambers‘ exit as Dr. Alex Karev in next week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy, PEOPLE confirms.

In a trailer for next week’s episode, titled “Leave A Light On,” a series of unforgettable moments through the past 16 seasons are shown — including the very first day of Karev’s medical internship and the moment he became chief of surgery for Grey Sloan Memorial — along with an emotional message: “After 16 seasons, we’re saying goodbye to Dr. Alex Karev. See how his story ends.”

Last month, ABC confirmed to PEOPLE that Chambers, 49, was not returning to the franchise and earlier this week, showrunner Krista Vernoff confirmed fans will be getting “clarity” as to how his character will be written off.

Justin Chambers | Kelsey McNeal/ABC

“It was a very careful threading of a needle, where we are giving a little bit of information and pain to Jo,” she told Variety. In the last week’s episode, Jo told Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) that Alex had stopped returning her calls and that he was “going through something.”

“We’re, episode by episode, illuminating the story of where Alex is,” Vernoff added. “And it takes us quite a few more episodes to get there and to give the audience clarity.”

“There’s no good time to say goodbye to a show and character that’s defined so much of my life for the past 15 years,” Chambers said in a statement to PEOPLE. “For some time now, however, I have hoped to diversify my acting roles and career choices. And, as I turn 50 and am blessed with my remarkable, supportive wife and five wonderful children, now is that time.”

RELATED: How Grey’s Addressed Dr. Alex Karev’s Absence in Midseason Premiere After Justin Chambers’ Exit

He added, “As I move on from Grey’s Anatomy, I want to thank the ABC family, Shonda Rimes, original cast members Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson and James Pickens, and the rest of the amazing cast and crew, both past and present, and, of course, the fans for an extraordinary ride.”

While the actor told Page Six he’s “taking it one day at a time,” he has an idea of his next career move.

“Producing documentaries, that’s what I’m most interested in right now,” Chambers told the outlet. “Grey’s has been very supportive of me and I’m very grateful and it’s been a great ride.”

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays (9 p.m. ET) on ABC.