Photo: EW

I’m not crying, you’re crying!

It’s been almost 10 years since we first saw Andrew Lincoln awaken from a coma in the middle of a zombie-ridden hospital. And now, after nearly a decade, television’s Rick Grimes has prepared his exit.

After confirming rumors of his departure at the recent Comic-Con International: San Diego, Lincoln clarified to EW Radio that he’s looking to spend more time with his wife and two kids. Since filming of The Walking Dead is mostly shot in Georgia,

“I have two young children, and I live in a different country, and they become less portable as they get older,” Lincoln said. “It was that simple. It was time for me to come home.”

Lincoln played The Walking Dead’s lead character since the beginning, when the show’s first episode premiered on Halloween night in 2010. His co-star and on-screen combatant Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays Negan, described Lincoln as “the leader” of the group:

“Andy has always been the guy, and the show is going to miss him, we’re going to miss him. It’s going to be a different vibe, there’s no replacing him.”

Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon and has been around since the third episode, shared a very similar sentiment:

“He’s the first call I get when I wake up. He calls me, we talk about the day as we’re driving to work, we get to work, talk about the day, at lunch he’s in my trailer, and then we wrap and he calls me on the way home. It’s been like that every day.”

Season 9 of The Walking Dead will welcome the return of Rick Grimes one final time, and will premiere on Oct. 7.

h/t Variety