So long, McDreamy: Dempsey dies on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

More time for the actor to race in WEC and at Le Mans.

The bad news for fans of actor Patrick Dempsey: His character, Dr. Derek Shepherd on the long-running TV series Grey’s Anatomy, was killed off in Thursday night’s episode, when his character’s car was hit by a truck.

Patrick Dempsey
Patrick Dempsey

The good news for fans of race car driver Patrick Dempsey: He’ll have more time to race, including at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the fourth time this year, at the twice-around-the-clock classic June 13-14. Dempsey will be driving a Porsche 911 for Proton, with Patrick Long. He was, in fact, testing in Bahrain with Long when the episode aired: Long tweeted Thursday night, “Enjoyable few days visiting and testing with Marco Seefried and Patrick Dempsey.”

He was scheduled to race at March’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, but a tough shooting scheduled for his final season of Grey’s Anatomy precluded that.

In Thursday’s show, his character had stopped to help some car crash victims, before he climbed back into his own car and was promptly hit by a truck. He was taken to a small hospital, which did not have the facilities and expertise to save him – he suffered head injuries that his character, though essentially unconscious, realized were being misdiagnosed, as viewers were privy to his thoughts.

Grey’s Anatomy will continue for at least one more year, with Meredith, his wife and fellow doctor, going it alone. Dempsey, 49, has been on the show for 11 seasons, and despite some movie roles, the TV show has made him a star. He did, in fact, have a contract for another season, but apparently he and show creator Shonda Rhimes agreed it was time to go. It is the second big revelation this year for Dempsey, as he and his wife Jillian announced a pending divorce last January.

Aside from more racing in the World Endurance Championship, Dempsey has been working to turn the book “The Art of Racing in the Rain” into a motion picture, and he reportedly has other production plans for additional projects.