Fans of the show Nashville got a real shocker Thursday (Feb. 23) and the star involved has taken to Instagram and interviews to explain why the tragedy needed to happen. There are some serious spoilers coming, so stop reading now if you don't want to know what happened.

At the end of the most recent episode of CMT's drama, Rayna Jaymes dies. During the previous week's episode, Rayna was rushed to the hospital after getting into a bad car accident when a truck slammed into her while she was driving home.

The actress behind the leading role, Connie Britton, shared a heartfelt message on social media not long after the episode concluded and the startling news was revealed, thanking her fellow cast, crew and passionate fans. "You were the energy source, the power behind her heart and soul and life. Rayna lived for you," Britton writes in an Instagram post about fans unwavering support of her character. "And, from the depths of my heart, I thank you, for her and for me. It has been an honor to be a part of that creation. And as I know she would want it, the show must, and will go on. Long live Rayna Jaymes."

Britton and her character are set to appear in the following two episodes that will feature Rayna's funeral and a "series of flashbacks" according to Variety. It's also reported that the actress is currently touting offers from several major networks for other projects, but has not yet committed to any one deal.

The death comes as a shock to fans, as the show is not halfway through season 5. Britton also stated in an interview on the Ellen DeGeneres Show on Jan. 4 that she was "in for the duration" of the current season, but during a new interview with TVLine she revealed she said that because she was caught off guard by the host and wanted to protect the storyline. She goes on to say saying her good byes was the most difficult part. She was literally fighting back tears as her character was supposed to be dying, a scene that featured her on screen husband and daughters saying goodbye.

Of choosing to leave Britton says there were many factors, including family. She adopted a son five years ago.

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