Casualty star Ian Bleasdale, better known as paramedic Josh Griffith, is leaving the show after 18 years.
Ian, 55, is quitting the BBC1 medical drama to try his hand at other roles.
However, viewers don’t need to brace themselves for a dramatic death scene – series producer Oliver Kent said the door would be left “firmly open” for Ian to return in the future.
Ian and Derek Thompson, who has played head nurse Charlie Fairhead since the show started 21 years ago, are the longest serving stars.
Their touching farewell scenes on screen will have fans reaching for their hankies.
A show source told the Daily Mirror: “Josh has had such terrible luck in his life. His family died in a house fire, his second marriage broke down and he was stabbed at Christmas.
“But finally he’s going to get some happiness in his life – he goes on holiday, falls in love and ends up getting married.
“It is sad to see Ian go, but everyone wishes him well and there’s always the possibility he might return at some point in the future.”
Casualty returns early next month. The new series has reportedly been revamped with an ‘edgier’ feel.
Hollywood stars Kate Winslet and Minnie Driver have both appeared in previous episodes of the show.