When the CW’s Vampire Diaries returns next fall for Season 7, it will be without star Nina Dobrev who announced that she is leaving the hit drama after the end of the current sixth season.

“I’ve just spent the most beautiful weekend on Lake Lanier in Georgia with my own TVD Family, the cast and crew of The Vampire Diaries,” Dobrev wrote on Instagram. “I want to be the first to tell you that it wasn’t just a holiday celebration, it was a goodbye party. I always knew I wanted Elena’s story to be a six season adventure, and within those six years I got the journey of a lifetime.”

Heading into this season, TVD producer Warner Bros. TV moved in to secure new deals with the series’ key cast members. Male leads Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley have signed on for next season. Meanwhile, from the get go, Dobrev declined to negotiate a new contract. After repeated approaches by the studio, which included an option for her to continue as a recurring, the actress ultimately opted to depart at the end of her original contract.

dobrevplec“Saying goodbye to Nina is both bittersweet and beautiful,” said TVD showrunner Julie Plec. “After six-plus years together, the entire cast and crew of The Vampire Diaries has reached a level of closeness that I don’t think any of us ever expected. Nina is excited to spread her wings, get some rest, travel the world and also take it by storm, and we support her a thousand-fold. We will miss Nina and the four hundred characters she played, but we look forward to the insane and exciting challenge of continuing to tell stories of our Salvatore Brothers and our much-loved and gifted ensemble.”

Dobrev got her break with a role on Degrassi in her native Canada before landing the lead in the pilot for The Vampire Diaries, which opened the doors to Hollywood for her. She has done a few movies in her summer hiatuses from TVD, including The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

In her Instagram post, Dobrev recalled how “seven years ago, a young Degrassi girl from Canada showed up in LA to audition for ‘that Twilight TV show.'”

Dobrev is not the only TVD cast member to change status next season. Here is what Plec said about Michael Trevino, who has been released by the studio to do a pilot, ABC drama The Kingmakers. He has been on and off full-time cast member on TVD and will likely appear again in some form.

“Michael has been a beloved member of the Vampire Diaries family since day one. Even though he’s also going to be out in the world exploring new opportunities, we look forward to finding creative ways to make sure he and his character Tyler Lockwood always remain a part of the show.”

Dobrev is not the first actor to depart a hit show at the end of their contract but such exits of the series’ lead are rare. NBC comedy The Office similarly lost star Steve Carell after Season 7. The show ran for two more seasons.