This post contains spoilers from Thursday’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
During Thursday’s two-hour, crossover mid-season premiere with Station 19, the doctors of Grey Sloan Memorial fought hard to save the life of Dr. DeLuca, who was stabbed in his attempt to pursue and expose a sex trafficker. But things quickly took a turn after an emergency surgery, and DeLuca died on the operating table.
On Saturday, Pompeo, who stars as Meredith Grey in the long-running medical drama, shared a selfie of her and Gianniotti to thank him for his time on the show.
“Bravo @giacomo_gianniotti,” the actress captioned the photo. “You will be missed. Thank you for showing up and being the consummate professional every time you walked on set. Grey’s is a master class in patience and in having to be present no matter how monotonous it may get. You aced it.”
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE‘s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
“Now you get to go have some fun and apply all that skill!! I’m excited for your future… and remember wine and pasta with me will always be a part of it!!” she concluded, adding “Tuo amico per sempre,” meaning “Your friend forever” in Gianniotti’s native Italian.
Gianniotti, 31, reposted the photo with his own heartfelt message for Pompeo, 51.
“My last day on set… on the beach with this beach waved beauty,” he wrote. “@ellenpompeo although our friendship will be everlasting, this ride with you has been incredible and I will deeply miss sharing the screen with you. Digging deep in scenes, fighting for truth, seeing how much you care about your character and the show after all these years. It’s been an honor.”
“Deluca and Meredith won’t be seeing eachother any more, but Giacomo and Ellen will be having much more time for pasta and wine now. Well said. 🍝 🍷,” he continued. “Thank you for making this experience such a memorable one @ellenpompeo . Grazie Grazie Grazie. 🇮🇹 #amicipersempre.”
Gilles Mingasson/ABC via Getty Images Giacomo Gianniotti
Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff explained her decision to end DeLuca’s storyline in a Twitter post shortly after the episode aired.
“Giacomo has brought so much talent and so much heart to the role of Andrew DeLuca,” she wrote in the statement. “We at Grey’s Anatomy are grieving the death of this character with all of you. Giacomo played him so beautifully and took him on such a powerful journey — from intern, to romantic, to a mental health crisis and back again.”
“Giacomo remains a member of our family not just in perpetuity but for more of this season. You will see him again. As actor and as director,” she continued. “This is the story that demanded to be told. But sometimes we writers are just as grief stricken by the stories as you are. This is one of those times.”
Concluding her message, Vernoff added, “Thank you Giacomo for your performance, your talent, your grace.”