Andrew Lincoln has shared his official farewell letter to The Walking Dead fans. Even though fans know that the end is near for Lincoln's Rick Grimes character, the event will still be a pretty sad one. The actor has been with the hit AMC series since the beginning, bringing Robert Kirkman's comic books to life on the small screen. While ratings have continued to drop, The Walking Dead is still one of the most popular shows in television history.

Andrew Lincoln made the decision to leave The Walking Dead so that he could spend more time with his family. The actor only has two more episodes to go, and speculation is at fever pitch, trying to figure out how Rick Grimes will make his exit. While we all wait, Lincoln has written a touching letter to fans and the press who have covered the hit show. The letter reads.

"Thank you... For coming with us on this journey. For the nine years of fear, heartache, anger and, let's face it, guts you've shown by making it through these 115 episodes and counting. And for services to journalism that go way behind any civilized levels of human endurance. For understanding that despite the high volume of undead, this is actually an ongoing story about what it is to be alive. A story of hope, family and friendship. People with nothing in common discovering that they have everything in common. United in their search for humanity and a place to call home. A story that has perhaps even more relevance now than it did when we began."

The Walking Dead fans like to discuss the episodes and look into the deeper meaning behind character motivations and the many on-screen deaths. It's been an epic journey that, even after 115 episodes, and without Andrew Lincoln, will continue, and so will all of the discussion. In the next part of Lincoln's farewell letter, he addresses the challenges that have made his journey all worth it. The letter continues to say.

"It's been the most exciting, challenging and satisfying role of my career - and for the best part of a decade, the greatest adventure of my professional life. This season feels like the show I fell in love with all those years ago, and the world we were always heading toward when we wrapped the pilot episode. By my own rough count, I've killed over 400 zombies during the apocalypse. Lost a horse, found a horse. Lost a girl... that didn't go well. Ate a dog once. Wore a meat poncho twice. Escaped from a bunch of hipster cannibals. Not to mention I've been shot twice, baseball batted, stabbed three times, bit a man's throat out (I'm sorry - that was weird - and tasted like chicken), and had my cowboy boots resoled... 12 times."

Much of Andrew Lincoln's life has been dedicated to The Walking Dead for nearly a decade, so it makes sense that he has had some pretty crazy experiences on and off camera. Killing over 400 zombies is a pretty big feat, and one that Lincoln takes obvious pride in. It's going to be weird to see the show continue without him, but the actor, and the show, are ready to move forward. You can read the final portion of Andrew Lincoln's farewell letter below.

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"We began as an indie movie, and years later became a three-letter acronym (wtf?). And along the way, we've had the unique pleasure of meeting zombie enthusiasts all over our beautiful blue planet. From Tokyo to Trinidad, people have been united by their love of this story of survival... and Norman Reedus' extraordinarily luscious hair. It's been a wild ride, shaped by the relationship between the show and the fans of the show, and in no small part you good people of the press. I look forward to following your coverage of the show and my friends in Atlanta for seasons to come - what they have planned is quite incredible. So thank you. For all of it. For the good, the bad... and of course, we wouldn't be a free press... without the ugly. Until our paths cross again. Keep Calm and Carry a Red Machete... Andrew Lincoln."

It's unclear how Rick Grimes will make his exit from The Walking Dead, but it's guaranteed that fans are going to want to talk about for the weeks to come. The show's hardcore fans are devoted to what Lincoln helped bring to life, so it's nice to see that the actor does not take that devotion for granted. In the end, Lincoln says the ending is "incredible," which is surely exciting for long-time fans. Andrew Lincoln's letter was first published by Comic Book.