(NBC) – The 200th episode of “Chicago Fire” became an even bigger event with the departure of a beloved character, which was hinted at previously on the show.

Wednesday’s “Chicago Fire” was no fake-out, Firehouse 51 did say farewell to character Matt Casey played by actor Jesse Spencer.

“It’s been a great you know, a great crew, a great cast, said Spencer. “I couldn’t I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

Spencer’s character left for Oregon, to become guardian to a pair of troubled teens whose firefighter father died in the very first episode of “Chicago Fire.” Casey’s goodbye challenged the show’s co-creator Derek Haas.

“It’s impossible not to get invested,” said Haas. “As a writer, I don’t know how writers do it if they’re just going through the motions, but you feel it intensely.”

Spencer says after 18 years combined on TV, first on “House” now on “Chicago Fire” it was time for a break.

“I hate to leave the show because I do love this show,” he said. “But you know, when the time comes, the time comes.”

It was a tough time for the cast.

“Heartbreak is the only word that comes to mind,” said castmate Eamonn Walker. “And even as you mention it right now, the emotions come up and I have to force them down.”

“It’s just really, really hard,” added actor David Eigenberg. “You know, you don’t want to say goodbye.”

And Spencer may visit his character’s trying a long-distance relationship and, he’s supposed to be best man for firefighter Severide’s wedding.

But until that time comes, Firehouse 51 won’t be quite the same.

Spencer’s a native Australian and says after his first harsh winter in Chicago, he questioned whether he’d be able to last on the show. But for now, he and his wife are still living in the windy city.