‘Grey’s Anatomy’: Why Mark’s Tragic Death Hurt More Than Any Other

Grey’s Anatomy is known for killing off many of our favorite characters, sometimes in ways we just can’t seem to get over. This isn’t too surprising since the show has been on for almost two decades, hitting as many as 17 seasons so far, with season 18 starting back up in the fall of 2021. What is surprising is how much they still hurt way after the fact.

This is especially true for Mark Sloan (Eric Dane), also known as McSteamy. Not only do many fans want him back because they think he makes the show better, but some are even saying his death hurt more than any other. This is saying a lot since there are quite a few major deaths in the series.

Mark’s tragic ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ death was drawn out

Eric Dane on 'Grey's Anatomy'
Eric Dane on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ | Michael Desmond/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

Unlike most other deaths we witness on Greys, Mark’s anticipated death was long-lasting and more drawn out to at least a month’s time. This was because he was put into a coma that kept many McSteamy fans wishing for a return. To our dismay, there was never one.

Going back a few beats, the season 8 finale premiered a horrible plane crash that rocked the series. Not only did Lexi get trapped under a piece of aircraft and die from the debris, but Mark started having chest pains that put him in a coma. Despite looking completely healthy minutes earlier while trying to save Lexi, Dr. Sloan met his fatal end when the team pulled the plug in season 9.

It was after these two tragic deaths that the hospital was officially renamed Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.

What fans are saying about it — even nearly a decade later

Doing what Reddit does best, many fans came together recently to discuss the loss of Mark Sloan from Greys and the heartbreak of his fatal exit from the show. Even a decade later, we can’t help but cry when we rewatch his death — and the tragic reactions of his closest friends. 

In fact, many commenters agreed with the poster that “Mark’s death was the saddest,” contributing this to the heartbreaking loss of two long-time characters we’ve come to love.

“The whole plane crash wrecked me,” one fan wrote. “Mark and Lexie‘s deaths made me cry A LOT. I also feel like we felt that loss more because [two] main characters died at once.”

And this opinion was hardly limited to McSteamy’s biggest fans and admirers. The responses of other beloved characters pulled at some heartstrings as well.

“I cried more for him than any other death, and he wasn’t even my favorite,” another fan admitted. “I think a lot of it has to do with Derek and Callie and how much it hurt them. Patrick and Sara did such a great job with that episode 😭.”

Other tragic deaths of long-time characters

Of course, Mark was far from the only sad death, and it’s still up in the air on whether it is the saddest. The biggest contender being the death of his sometimes best friend/sometimes nemesis — Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey), aka McDreamy. He was hit by a semi, suffered brain damage, and even still could’ve survived if he’d gotten a CT scan going into the ER.

Following closely behind, however, we also lost George O’Malley unexpectedly when he got hit by a bus. Then there was Andrew Deluca, who was stabbed and murdered, Lexie Grey, who died in the same plane crash as Mark, Denny Duquette, who left behind a broken Izzie.

Arguably less tragic but still sad, there was also Susan Grey, who seemed just to have hiccups but died in surgery, and the death of Meredith and Derek’s dog Doc.

RELATED: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’: Mark and Derek Shippers Are Still Out There – and They Have All the Evidence