Every Single Grey's Anatomy Death That We'll Never, Ever Recover From

Sure, Grey's Anatomy has been light and full of love recently, but it's consistently been a series where the Grim Reaper is always around the corner. Throughout the years, we've witnessed a handful of heart-wrenching yet nonfatal exits on the show with characters such as Cristina and April. Still, these departures aren't the only norms at Grey Sloan. The medical drama has never been shy about killing off main characters through the most dramatic means possible. From Denny Duquette to McDreamy, here are the most emotionally gutting character deaths the series has conjured — we dare you not to sob yourself into a puddle while reading through this!

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Episode: Season 2, Episode 27

What happens: Technically, the show's first major death isn't a human one. Izzie adopts Doc when she's bummed out about a patient, but eventually, Meredith and Derek share custody of the dog when George can't handle him in the house anymore. Doc later gets bone cancer, and Meredith (along with Addison and Derek) has to put him down in the season two finale. It's sad because Doc is very adorable and also because, in typical vintage Grey's Anatomy fashion, he symbolizes Meredith and Derek's fractured relationship. (Remember when Meredith likens herself to a train-wreck victim after Derek chooses Addison?!) Not to mention Doc's vet Finn is also Meredith's boyfriend for about a minute.

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Denny Duquette

Episode: Season 2, Episode 27

What happens: Long before stepping on the set of The Walking Dead, Jeffrey Dean Morgan played Izzie's sweet and grizzled heart patient, Denny Duquette. After she falls in love with Denny, Izzie cuts his LVAD wire so he could go up the transplant list. After heart surgery, Denny proposes to Izzie. Their romance is short-lived, though, as he dies of a stroke during the hospital prom. His untimely death introduces Grey's viewers to their first taste of a very effective song and death scene combo when Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" strums softly in the background.

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Ellis Grey

Episode: Season 3, Episode 17

What happens: Meredith has always had a fraught relationship with her world-renowned mother, Ellis. Afflicted with Alzheimer's, Ellis is lucid for a moment and snippily calls her daughter ordinary. Derek, heartbroken that Meredith could die after nearly drowning, looks over Ellis but eventually loses her to a heart attack. Meredith, in her dream state, later sees Ellis, who tells her she's anything but ordinary. In an emotional circle-of-life kind of moment, the dark and twisty surgeon wakes up when her mother dies.

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George O'Malley

Episode: Season 5, Episode 24

What happens: George enlists in the Army by the end of season five. When he leaves the hospital, he saves a woman from getting run over by a bus, only to get hit himself. His colleagues don't immediately realize that it's him because he's mangled beyond recognition. Only when he uses his fingers to trace "007" onto Meredith's palm does she realize it's him. He and Izzie flatline at the same time, and we see the two of them walk into an elevator, Izzie in her season two prom dress and George in an Army uniform. This is Grey's at its finest emotional hour.

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Reed Adamson and Charles Percy

Episode: Season 6, Episode 23 and 24

What happens: The shooting episodes make up one of Grey's Anatomy's most tragic and unsettling arcs. Basically, a late patient's husband goes into the hospital armed and begins shooting staff members, including Derek, Owen, and Alex. The casualties who aren't so lucky are Reed and Charles, two new resident transfers from Mercy West. In "Sanctuary," Gary shoots Reed in the head and Charles in the chest. Doctor Bailey tries to save the latter in "Death and All His Friends," but the elevators don't work so she can't get him help in time. It's in this episode where we first see Mandy Moore emotionally crush us on primetime. The This Is Us actress plays Doctor Bailey's patient Mary, who assists the surgeon with helping Charles.

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Henry Burton

Episode: Season 8, Episode 10

What happens: Teddy befriends her patient Henry and offers to marry him so he can get insurance for a life-saving surgery. While their marriage begins aromantically, they end up falling in love and officially date. When he later has a heart tumor, Cristina unknowingly operates on him (because Grey's just loves its drama). While the heart surgeon does her best, Henry dies in surgery, ratcheting up the tension between Cristina, Owen, and Teddy even more. Scott Foley wouldn't be gone from Shondaland forever, though, eventually picking up the part of Scandal's dreamy Captain Jake Ballard.

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Lexie Grey

Episode: Season 8, Episode 24

What happens: Anything can happen on this medical drama, even catastrophic plane crashes. When the surgeons get stranded after their ride goes awry, Lexie gets severely injured and dies at the site of the wreck. It's especially heartbreaking and unfair, since she had just told Mark that she loved him days before her death. At least now, we hope Chyler Leigh is living her best life on Supergirl as the titular character's big sib!

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Mark Sloan

Episode: Season 9, Episode 1

What happens: Although he is first introduced as a jocular bro, McSteamy's death is probably one of the most painful ones on this show. One of the surgeons in the plane crash, Mark doesn't die immediately in the wreckage, but he suffers from pretty grave injuries because of it. After being in a coma for a month in Seattle, he eventually dies when the hospital turns off life support machines (as he wished for in his will), reuniting with Lexie in Grey's Anatomy heaven at the beginning of season nine.

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Heather Brooks

Episode: Season 10, Episode 2

What happens: Sweet and chipper, Heather lasts about a season on the series until the Grim Reaper comes knocking at her door. Portrayed by Tina Majorino from Veronica Mars, she is part of a new cohort of interns in season nine, becoming Derek's mentee. During the storm in the season nine finale, Heather looks for Richard in the generator room. When she finds the surgeon suffering from electrical shock, she steps into a puddle and gets electrocuted herself, then hits her head on the generator box. Derek gets her brain bleed, but she eventually dies from a swollen brain at the beginning of season 10.

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Derek Shepherd

Episode: Season 11, Episode 21

What happens: McDreamy's unexpected death took us a few seasons to heal from. Derek and Meredith's once-ideal relationship slips in season 11 when he takes a job in DC. They manage to patch things up by the last couple of episodes that season, but of course, things are too good to be true. Derek gets hit by a car after helping a group of people on the road. Because he ends up at a subpar hospital, he becomes brain-dead. Meredith lets him go soon after. We're still not OK, but we're glad Meredith eventually grows from the experience and finds peace (and DeLuca).

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Adele Webber

Episode: Season 9, Episode 10

What happens: Just like Ellis, Richard's wife, Adele, eventually gets Alzheimer's in season seven. (It's a recurring plot device, much like the series's number of tumors.) She ends up in a home, where she develops a romance with another dementia patient. In season nine, Adele is rushed to the hospital on the day of Bailey's wedding because of an aneurysm. Meredith and Bailey (yes, Bailey works on her wedding day because she's Bailey) successfully operate on her, but she later dies of a heart attack. We see Richard and Adele dancing to "My Funny Valentine" in a crushing dream sequence at the end.

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Thatcher Grey

Episode: Season 15, Episode 11

What happens: Meredith has just as many daddy problems as mommy ones. Because Thatcher is never around for much of her life, Meredith has always been frosty toward her biological father. (It doesn't help that he slaps her when his wife dies.) In season 15, Richard reveals to Mer that Thatcher is in hospice for leukemia. When Meredith finally visits him, he's basically on his deathbed. He passes away after the two of them talk about Meredith's children.