It will soon be time to say farewell to another beloved character from The Walking Dead.
Danai Gurira, who has played the katana-wielding Michonne on the long-running AMC zombie series since season 3, announced at the Walking Dead‘s San Diego Comic-Con panel on Friday that the show’s upcoming tenth season will be her last.
“I can confirm this is the last season I’ll be on this amazing TV show as Michonne,” she said at the panel, per Entertainment Weekly.
“I would just like to say this has been one of the purest joys in my life,” the Black Panther star continued, calling her decision to leave the show a “very difficult” one. She said that although she feels “called” to pursue other projects, she is “filled” with “a lot of pain” at the thought of leaving the series.
“I am very very thankful for the experience I’ve had in ways that I cant even express right now,” she said. “My heart does not leave … it doesn’t ever end, the connection between us never ends. It was a very difficult decision. It was about my calling and other things I feel called to… as a creator of work. All I’m filled with is a lot of pain about leaving and a lot of gratitude and to all of you. I love you guys. TWD family is forever.”
Luckily, the goodbye won’t be immediate.
Gurira will still appear in the tenth season, and fans can even spot her in the trailer for the season that dropped on Friday, looking more badass than ever.
“It’s harder the second time around,” she is heard saying in the clip. “Especially when you get used to having someone there. A partner in crime.”
RELATED VIDEO: ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ Stars Tease That Their ‘Characters Seem Very Gullible’
The news of Gurira’s exit from the show isn’t totally new, as several outlets, including PEOPLE, reported that she was planning to leave back in February. But this is the first time that Gurira has confirmed the news.
She’s also not the first fan-favorite to leave the series. Star Andrew Lincoln, who played Rick Grimes, departed in the first half of season 9 — though he is set to appear in the spinoff Walking Dead movie that AMC announced last November. In a teaser shown at Comic-Con, it was confirmed that the spinoff movie will be released in theaters.
Other news to come out of the SDCC panel included some casting for the third unnamed spinoff series — which will “focus on the first generation to come-of-age in the apocalypse,” according to the network, and is set to begin production next week in Richmond, Virginia.
Annet Mahendru will play Huck, Aliyah Royale will play Iris, Alexa Mansour will play Hope, Nicolas Cantu will play Elton, and Hal Cumpston will play Silas.
Fear the Walking Dead has also been renewed for a sixth season.
The Walking Dead will return to AMC on Sunday, October 6 at 9 p.m.