Bailey panics as she hears there has been a surge of COVID-19 cases, knowing she has loved ones in an assisted living facility. Meanwhile, Jackson and Richard team up against Catherine to teach her a lesson, and Teddy continues to try to mend her frayed relationships. After an intense surgery, Jo is uncertain about her future on an all-new episode of "Grey's Anatomy," THURSDAY, DEC. 10 (9:00-10:01 p.m. EST), on ABC. (ABC)
CNN  — 

“Grey’s Anatomy” returned for its mid-season premiere Thursday night, but an unexpected death on the show is leaving fans of the long-running drama devastated.

During a plotline on Thursday’s two-hour crossover episode with “Station 19,” Dr. Andrew DeLuca, played by Giacomo Gianniotti, attempted to pursue a sex trafficker and was stabbed. Deluca, a character on the show since 2015, died on the operating table after saying goodbye to Meredith Grey, who is suffering from Covid-19.

In a dream sequence on the same beach Grey (Ellen Pompeo) has been on during her dream sequences while sick, DeLuca tells her: “No matter what happens, I want you to know that I never felt seen the way you saw me. I never felt inspired the way you inspired me. You made me want to be not just my best self, but better. And yeah, I felt small around you sometimes. I felt insecure. I wanted something from you that I needed to give to myself. But here, now, on this beach with you, I get it. I don’t just get it, I feel it. I get who I am. I know my own soul, my strength.”

Meredith replied, “I’ll miss you. If I go back and you don’t, I’ll miss you.”

“You’ll be okay, Meredith,” he responded. “I have to go.”

Fans took to Twitter to express their shock and anger over the loss of the beloved character, with one writing that she’s “never gonna be ok.”

Following the episode, Gianniotti tweeted about his experience on the series.

“So much I could say… but all that comes to mind is thank you,” he wrote. “Thank you to all the fans who loved Deluca as much as I did. Telling his story was and will be one of the great honors of my life. Thank you.”