This was the main cast of 'Grey's Anatomy' when the ABC medical soap premiered in March 2005. Of the actors seen here, only four remain series regulars remain: Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, Justin Chambers and James Pickens Jr. Click forward to see all stars and sexy surgical characters who've come and gone in the 14 seasons since.
Patrick Dempsey (Dr. Derek Shepherd, Seasons 1-11): Dempsey's neurosurgeon, the longtime love of title character Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) who was known to fans as "McDreamy," was fatally injured in the Season 11 finale. After witnessing a crash, he tended to the injured and then was hit by a semi while leaving the scene, leaving him brain-dead.
Behind the scenes: Dempsey still had a year left on his contract when he exited but had begun to cause strife on the set, leading creator Shonda Rhimes to kill off his character.
Sandra Oh (Dr. Cristina Yang, Seasons 1-10): No drama here. After 10 years, Yang was simply ready to move on. So the show wrote out her cut-throat cardiothoracic surgeon by giving her a new job in Switzerland running a private research hospital where she could continue her groundbreaking use of 3-D printing to replicate parts of the human heart.
Isaiah Washington (Dr. Preston Burke, Seasons 1-3): The quiet but intense cardiothoracic surgeon left fiancée Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) at the altar in the Season 3 finale. Burke went on to win a prestigious award at another hospital and later ran a private research hospital in Switzerland, which he later turned over to Yang when Oh left at the end of Season 10. He then moved to Italy with his wife and two daughters.
Behind the scenes: In 2006, during an on-set incident early in Season 3, Washington used a gay slur (assumed to be directed at co-star T.R.. Knight, who was not yet out at the time). He apologized but after the show wrapped for the season, ABC declined to renew his contract. He did return as a guest star for Oh's final episode in 2010, however.
Katherine Heigl (Dr. Isobel Stevens, Seasons 1-6): The surgeon, who financed her education by posing for lingerie ads, was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic skin cancer in Season 5, inspiring a deathbed wedding to fellow resident and on-again-off-again beau Alex Karev (Justin Chambers). But the marriage fell apart after the successful removal of her tumor and Izzy left town.
Behind the scenes: Heigl, who had won a supporting-actress Emmy for 'Grey's' and for a time had a burgeoning film career, ran afoul of the writers in Season 4 when she said the material wasn't good enough to warrant Emmy consideration. Heigl later asked for and was granted early release from her contract. She later floated the idea of coming back to give the Izzy Stevens character closure, but Rhimes wasn't interested.
T.R. Knight (Dr. George O'Malley, Seasons 1-5): After finally discovering his medical calling (trauma surgery), O'Malley joined the U.S. Army. His co-workers were discussing how to talk him out of it while treating a disfigured John Doe. That patient, they later figured out, was O'Malley. He was declared brain-dead and his organs were donated.
Behind the scenes: Feeling he hadn't been given enough to do in Season 5, Knight asked to be released from his contract three years early.
Sara Ramirez (Dr. Callie Torres, Seasons 2-12): Torres, an orthopedic surgeon written into the show as a love interest for the George O'Malley character, eventually came out as lesbian, married fellow surgeon Dr. Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw) and had a daughter. But after Torres was unfaithful, the relationship broke down and they divorced. After Ramirez decided to take a break from TV, the character lost custody of their daughter and decided to move to New York with her new girlfriend.
Eric Dane (Dr. Mark Sloan, Seasons 2-9): The plastic surgeon who broke up Derek and Addison Shepherd's marriage followed her to Seattle Grace, was severely injured in a crash while flying with co-workers to separate conjoined twins in Idaho. In the Season 9 opener, his colleagues complied with his will's instructions that he be taken off life support if he was still unconscious after a month.
Chyler Leigh (Dr. Alexandra 'Lexie' Grey, Seasons 4-8); The Harvard-trained half-sister of Meredith Grey was trying to get back together with boyfriend Mark Sloan when the Seattle Grace team's plane crashed in the Season 8 finale. She was crushed under debris from the plane and died on the scene, but not before he told her he was still in love with her, too.
Kate Walsh (Dr. Addison Montgomery, Seasons 2- 3): After breaking up with husband Derek Shepherd for good, the neonatal surgeon's biological clock began ticking. She took a trip to L.A. to visit a fertility specialist friend and wound up joining her practice. Her new life was documented in the spin-off 'Private Practice,' which ran from 2007 to 2013.
Brooke Smith (Dr. Erica Hahn, Seasons 2-5): The cardiothoracic surgeon character (seen here at the right) was brought in as a replacement for Preston Burke, a mentor to Cristina Yang and the first same-sex love interest for Callie Torres. But when Callie slept with Mark Sloan to prove to herself she was no longer straight, Erica broke things off and left the hospital.
Behind the scenes: Despite the Callie-Erica romance earning initial praise from GLAAD for the realistic portrayal of a new same-sex relationship, ABC abruptly let Smith go early in Season 5. The show eventually cast Jessica Capshaw as a new love interest for Ramirez's character.
Kim Raver (Dr. Teddy Altman, Seasons 6-8): The cardiothoracic surgeon, who came to Seattle Grace after working as an Army doctor in Iraq, eventually returned to the military, taking a job at the U.S. Army Medical Command. The character has since returned on a recurring basis.
Jerrika Hinton (Dr. Stephanie Edwards, third left, Seasons 9 to 13) and Gaius Charles (Dr. Shane Ross, second left, Seasons 9-10): After being burned in a hospital accident, Edwards left, citing a desire to experience life outside of a hospital. Dr. Ross eventually went to work for Cristina Yang in Switzerland.
Jessica Capshaw (Dr. Arizona Robbins, Seasons 5-14): On March 8, Capshaw confirmed that her lesbian pediatric surgeon character is being written out at the end of Season 14. Just how that will happen remains to be seen.
Sarah Drew (Dr. April Kepner, Seasons 6-14): At the same time, Drew confirmed she'd also been told her character, a resident-turned-trauma specialist who joined Seattle Grace after it merged with her hospital, will be written out at the end of Season 14.