Jake Wood is to quit EastEnders after 15 years on the BBC One soap.
Jake will depart as Max Branning later this year as part of a dramatic storyline.
However the character will not be killed off, with the door left open for the actor to return in the future.
Jake said today: "I’ve had 15 wonderful years at EastEnders and have made some truly great friends.
"I’ll of course miss everyone there but I’m grateful they have left the door open for Max and I’m excited to see what the next chapter holds."
Jon Sen, executive producer of EastEnders, added in a statement: "Jake is a truly wonderful actor and EastEnders have been extremely lucky to have him for so long.
"We have a big storyline for Max that starts in the coming weeks and we are all very excited to see that play out."
Although no details about the storyline have been revealed just yet, The Sun reports that Max "will not be departing Walford quietly."
An insider said: "Bosses are staying tight lipped about what they have planned for Max but considering he has played a major part in the show for over fifteen years they are clearly planning something big and he will not be departing Walford quietly.
"Everyone will be sad to see Jake go as he is not only a great person to have on set but he’s also a fantastic actor."
EastEnders airs on BBC One.
Watch the latest episodes online via the BBC iPlayer here.