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The Reason Giacomo Gianniotti Left Grey's Anatomy

Andrew DeLuca's death was another shocking event in a show already brimming with them. It also occurred, appropriately, in the midst of "Grey's Anatomy" Season 17, when storylines across the board took a backseat to sensational COVID-19-related plot twists. This was, after all, the season that relegated Meredith to a dream beach.

But that didn't make DeLuca's tragic passing any less surprising or heartbreaking, especially considering the beloved character died a hero. At the moment of DeLuca's death, he was trying to stop a human trafficker from escaping and presumably targeting further victims. Overall, while the death made sense, it also pulled at fans' heartstrings and felt like it came out of nowhere. In the end, some fans even wondered if DeLuca's exit wasn't because of some unreported backstage drama. Of course, this wasn't that far-fetched, considering several actors had quit or been fired from "Grey's Anatomy" in the past after coming to blows with their co-workers.

But as it turns out, DeLuca's death was purely for storytelling purposes.

Showrunner Krista Vernoff felt that DeLuca's death came at the right time

According to Krista Vernoff in a Variety interview following DeLuca's surprise mid-season death, Vernoff planned DeLuca's storyline as a fitting end to his character's struggles with mental health. "I think that he went out fighting for what he believed in. And he was through his mental health crisis," she explained. "He'd become a very productive member of the hospital staff. And he wasn't going to let this woman walk away again."

Vernoff also revealed that she invented this dramatic turn of events during — what else? — a walk along the beach. "Sometimes stories tell themselves to you, and your heart just breaks," she said. 

Additionally, as if to put any further speculation about on-set drama to rest, Giacomo Gianniotti — the actor behind DeLuca — gave his character a cheery farewell on Instagram. "Well thats a wrap," he wrote. "10 days of beautiful, fast paced, red eyed glory. Wouldn't change it for the world." Next, the actor will star in the Italian film "Diabolik chi sei?"