Grey’s Anatomy fans were in for a shock on Monday when Isaiah Washington announced his “early retirement” from acting. The actor, who played Dr. Preston Burke on the beloved medical drama, took to Twitter to share his decision.

Washington, who is now 57 years old, explained that he wants to focus on his health and family. He also expressed his gratitude to his fans, saying that he’s “grateful to have had the opportunity to have a voice and empower people all over the world. Now it’s time to rest and reignite my passion for living.”

Washington’s announcement comes after a long and successful career in Hollywood. He first rose to fame in the late 90s with a starring role in the Spike Lee film Clockers. He went on to star in several other films, including Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds, and Ghost Ship. In 2005, he landed the role of Dr. Burke on Grey’s Anatomy, which would become his most iconic role to date.

Washington’s time on Grey’s Anatomy was not without controversy, however. In 2007, he was fired from the show after he used a homophobic slur during an argument with co-star T.R. Knight. The incident sparked a massive backlash, with many fans and members of the LGBTQ+ community calling for his dismissal.

Following his firing, Washington apologized for his remarks and underwent sensitivity training. He also became an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and worked with GLAAD to raise awareness about the challenges faced by the community.

Despite the controversy, Washington remained a beloved figure among Grey’s Anatomy fans. His departure from the show in 2007 was met with sadness and disappointment, and many have been hoping for his return ever since.

With his retirement from acting, it seems unlikely that Washington will be making a comeback on the show anytime soon. However, fans are still holding out hope that they’ll see him on the big screen again in the future.

Washington’s announcement has been met with an outpouring of love and support from fans on social media. Many have shared their favorite memories of his work and expressed their gratitude for his contributions to the industry.

“Thank you for your amazing work, your advocacy, your presence and your kindness over the years,” wrote one fan on Twitter. “I wish you nothing but happiness and fulfillment in the next chapter of your life!”

Others praised Washington’s dedication to his family, wishing him all the best in his retirement.

“I am so happy for you that you are putting your health and family first,” tweeted another fan. “You are so talented and have brought so much joy to so many through your work. Thank you for being you.”

While Washington’s retirement is certainly a loss for the entertainment industry, it’s clear that he has left a lasting impact on his fans and colleagues alike. His dedication to advocacy and social justice has inspired countless people, and his legacy will continue to resonate for years to come.

As for what the future holds for Washington, only time will tell. For now, he’s taking some much-needed time off to focus on his health and loved ones. And for fans who have followed his career for decades, that’s more than enough.