Grey's Anatomy kills off major character leaving fans devastated

12 March 2021, 12:16

Grey's Anatomy 17x08 trailer teases sad goodbye and Derek's return

Katie Louise Smith

By Katie Louise Smith

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Grey's Anatomy season 17, episode 7.

Grey's Anatomy season 17 returned from its 3-month hiatus on Thursday (March 11) and dropped a huge, shocking, major character death right in our laps – with very little warning.

The Grey's mid-season premiere, which was part of a two-hour crossover event with sister show Station 19, jumped straight back into the drama. Meredith is still in a coma after contracting COVID-19 and her Dream Beach is still welcoming visitors. This reason for this week's visitor, however? A truly devastating turn of events.

At the end of the Grey's episode, viewers were left in a state of shock as a beloved main character died. Read on to see the reactions to their death, and to find out why that particular character was killed off by the writers.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead for major character death in Grey's Anatomy season 17, episode 7.

Grey's Anatomy: DeLuca's shock death blindsides fans
Grey's Anatomy: DeLuca's shock death blindsides fans. Picture: Gilles Mingasson/ABC via Getty Images

How does DeLuca die on Grey's Anatomy? What happened?

In the mid-season premiere of Station 19, Andrew DeLuca and his sister Carina attempt to catch the child sex trafficker who he had previously identified back in Grey's Anatomy season 16. As DeLuca follows her through a train station, he ends up getting stabbed. He's found by Carina and then brought to Grey Sloan, where the Grey's mid-season premiere picks up.

Owen Hunt and Teddy Altman manage to stabilise him and it seems like he's ok. Later in the episode, however, DeLuca's condition begins to deteriorate and ends up back in the OR, with Teddy and Owen unable to save him. He dies on the table.

DeLuca's death was also seemingly foreshadowed at the start of the episode when he shows up on Meredith's beach, questioning whether they're alive. It became clear that he was slipping away when he told Meredith he thought he had "more time" on the beach. While sitting down with Mer, he hears his late mother calling him and he tells her he has to go.

The end of the episode ends with DeLuca running into the arms of his mother, and walking off into the sunset after waving goodbye to Meredith.

Fans are absolutely devastated over his shock death, many didn't even see it coming.

Why did Grey's Anatomy kill off DeLuca?

Grey's Anatomy show runner Krista Vernoff shared a statement following the episode, thanking Giacomo Gianniotti for his portrayal of DeLuca over the past 6 seasons. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she also explained the decision to kill off the character.

"At the very beginning of this season as I took a walk on the beach and asked: "What are the stories? What are we doing?" These episodes came in whole cloth," explained Vernoff. "This is what I came into the writers' room knowing. I didn't like it and it made me mad and it made me cry even as I imagined it, and I will admit that multiple times as we were writing the season and even as we were shooting these episodes, I came into the writers' room shouting and crying like, 'Really?! This is what we're doing? I think I'm chickening out! I think we have to save him, you guys!'"

She continued: "The whole thing downloaded and I was like, "Oh my God, we're killing DeLuca?" That's how it happened. Nobody wanted to kill DeLuca. I didn't want to kill DeLuca! But when I came in and said, "You guys, this is the story," everyone went, "Oh yeah, that's the story." We wanted to honor the fact that we didn't feel like we had completed the storytelling of the sex trafficking [plot] and this felt like the story."

Why did Giacomo Gianniotti leave Grey's Anatomy?

Unlike some of the other recent exits on Grey's Anatomy, it sounds like DeLuca's death was simply just a storyline decision, rather than the decision of the actor to leave.

Gianniotti took to Twitter to thank fans for their support over the past six years, writing: "So much I could say... but all that comes to mind is thank you. 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."