It’s the end of an era for Rayna James as she tragically passed away in the most recent heartbreaking episode of CMT’s Nashville.
After being held hostage during an assault with her stalker and surviving a critical car accident on the way home, Rayna’s recovery looked hopeful among doctors and family. But following complications of one of her surgeries, she died due to her failing organs after artificially receiving blood pressure assistance. Both Nashies and the cast mourned the loss of Rayna, as well as said a heartfelt goodbye to Connie Britton for the duration of the series.
Just as social media blew up as a shocking sensation regarding the series surprise, Britton went on the record to say how much playing the character of Rayna James has changed her and how difficult it will be leaving the cast and crew who have become a second family to her while filming in Music City.
“It has been an honor to be a part of that creation,” the actress wrote in part in a lengthy letter to fans after the episode aired.
Many of the cast members also sent their love and dedication to Britton through Instagram and Twitter as they watched the show in time with fans on Thursday night to be at peace with the show’s decision. Take a look at some of their candid reactions below:
Connie has taught me everything I know as an actor. She has been a set mother to me since I was 8. She has been someone I look up to so much. Rayna Jaymes is a character that inspired and changed people’s lives. I love you. RIP Rayna. Thank you Connie for being such an amazing person. Yoby is a lucky boy. -Maisy
💘💘💘 A post shared by Lennon and Maisy Stella (@lennonandmaisyofficial) on
I took this picture almost 5 years ago on my first day of shooting #nashville with @conniebritton. I was already a fan. Now, after all this time, she’s my friend. And I’m an even bigger fan. I’m grateful for every scene, and for every song, and I wish her nothing but the very best. ✨ #deaconandrayna
Thank you Rayna Jaymes. For your magic and your dignity. And thank you to all the creators of Rayna Jaymes, for there were many. Callie Khouri, who gave her life. Deacon, Maddie, Daphne, who shaped her as her family. Teddy, Tandy, Lamar too. Juliette, Scarlett, Bucky and the ones who crafted her into a business woman. Along with countless other compatriots and combatants. And then of course the crew of “Nashville” who brought her to life, every crew member in every department who made Rayna live each week. And then there’s the music. T Bone, Buddy, Tim, Frankie and all the brilliant songwriters who gave Rayna a voice. There was no music, and no Rayna, without you. But finally and most importantly, the fans. You made Rayna. You supported her and loved her and gave her inspiration just as she was able to inspire you. You were the energy source, the power behind her heart and soul and life. Rayna lived for you. 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. #RIPRayna #NashvilleCMT
To our community of #Nashies … I am grateful. You have shared pain and helped each other heal. You make our show special.
— Chris Carmack (@RealCarmack) February 24, 2017
Nashville will continue on with season five on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET on CMT.