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Nina Dobrev, star of The CW's onetime flagship series, "The Vampire Diaries," is leaving the show after its current sixth season ends.

The actress made the announcement in a long, heartfelt post on her Instagram account Monday, revealing that a recent celebration with the "TVD" cast and crew in Georgia was actually 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," Dobrev wrote. "I was a human, a vampire, a doppelganger, a crazy immortal, a doppelganger pretending to be human, a human pretending to be a doppelganger. I got kidnapped, killed, resurrected, tortured, cursed, body-snatched, was dead and undead, and there's still so much more to come before the season finale in May. Elena fell in love not once, but twice, with two epic soulmates, and I myself made some of the best friends I'll ever know and built an extended family I will love forever."

Dearest TVD Family, 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. 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. I was a human, a vampire, a doppelganger, a crazy immortal, a doppelganger pretending to be human, a human pretending to be a doppelganger. I got kidnapped, killed, resurrected, tortured, cursed, body-snatched, was dead and undead, and there's still so much more to come before the season finale in May. Elena fell in love not once, but twice, with two epic soulmates, and I myself made some of the best friends I'll ever know and built an extended family I will love forever. There's more to come before we wrap this up, and I promise you'll get to hear all about my experiences over the next month as we approach the season finale (I have given an exclusive interview for the June issue of SELF Magazine that I am excited for you to see!), but until then I invite you to hop on the roller coaster ride that is Elena Gilbert's life and join me as I celebrate her and prepare to say goodbye to her -- and to my work family -- as I move on to the next chapter of my life. I want to share this goodbye with all of you (this weekend's pictures were just the beginning). You, the wonderful fandom who gave more love, support and passion than anyone could have ever imagined seven years ago, when a young Degrassi girl from Canada showed up in LA to audition for 'that Twilight TV show.' ;-) I love you all. Fasten your seatbelts. If you think you know what's coming, you don't. Love, Nina

A photo posted by Nina Dobrev (@ninadobrev) on


Dobrev went on to explain that there was much more excitement for her character, Elena, in store before the season finale. The actress also thanked her fans for their support, and invited viewers to "join me as I celebrate [Elena] and prepare to say goodbye to her - and to my work family - as I move on to the next chapter of my life."

"Vampire Diaries" executive producer Julie Plec released a statement in response to Dobrev's announcement, noting that the actress's departure was "both bittersweet and beautiful."

"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," Plec's statement continued. "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 400 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 isn't the only "TVD" star exiting the series. Steven R. McQueen, who played Elena's brother, Jeremy, left the show in March, and Michael Trevino, who recently shot a pilot for ABC, is also expected to depart at the end of the season.

"The Vampire Diaries" wraps its sixth season on May 14.

[via: Instagram, h/t The Hollywood Reporter]

Photo credit: Michael Buckner via Getty Images

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