‘Grey’s Anatomy’ creator Shonda Rhimes has finally given some insight as to why Derek Shepherd, Patrick Dempsey’s character on the hit ABC show, had to die at the end of last season. The show runner said that killing off the fan-favorite character was really the only choice she had, in order to preserve Meredith and Derek’s story of 'true love'.

Shonda RhimesShonda Rhimes has finally spoken about the decision to kill off Derek in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’.

"The decision to have the character die the way that he did was not a difficult one in the sense of what were the options?" Rhimes said during the 2015 Summer TCA press tour. "Either Derek was going to walk out on Meredith and leave her high and dry, and what was that going to mean?"

"That was going to suggest that the love was not true, the thing we had said for 11 years was a lie and McDreamy wasn't McDreamy. For me, that was untenable. Meredith and Derek's love had to remain Meredith and Derek's love,."

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"As painful as it was for me as a storyteller, because I had never really thought that was going to happen, it preserved what felt true to me, was that Derek was going to have to die in order for that love to remain honest,” Rhimes continued.

“Because I really couldn't have the idea that he just turned out to be a bad guy who walked out on his wife and kids be a true story. To me, it felt like that was the only way to make Meredith and Derek's magic remain true and forever frozen in time.”

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During the panel the showrunner also revealed that the decision to have Dempsey leave the show one year before his contract was over was mutual. "We had a lot of discussions about it," Rhimes said.

"It wasn't easy or fun, it is never easy or fun. We've been working really hard for a long time together. We're family. Those choices and those decisions are never easy for any of us."'Grey's Anatomy' is set to return for a 12th season in September on ABC.