Sad news for "General Hospital" fans has just been released. Soap Opera Digest confirms that Jane Elliot will be leaving the show this year. Rumors have been circulating for months about the status of her contract along with whispers of retirement. Elliot has played Tracy Quartermaine for nearly 40 years and her exiting the show will be a loss.

A while back, Jane Elliot gave an interview to Michael Logan and he touched on the issue of retirement, something she said she was looking forward to. This sparked several rumors about what would happen to her character, Tracy Quartermaine.

Elliot has announced she is indeed leaving "General Hospital" when her contract expires this spring but an exact date has not yet been given. She already told her bosses and the ABC executives that retirement is her choice and she will not be renewing her contract this year.

Jane's departure is a loss for fans

Fans of "General Hospital" have already started talking about what a loss Jane Elliot will be for the show. She has been in the role of Tracy Quartermaine since 1978, which makes her one of the oldest characters from the show still being used today. Her snarky comments and undying love for her family has always put Tracy above most of the other characters in Port Charles. The storyline she is wrapped up in now with Hayden (Rebecca Budig) and Finn (Michael Easton) has been one of the more entertaining for her in recent years.

How will Jane exit?

Right now, there is no exact answer about how Jane Elliot will exit as Tracy Quartermaine. There is hope that she will go off to find Luke (Anthony Geary) and be open to possibly returning in the future. Killing her off is also an option, but one that would pull at fans' heart. Obviously since this was just announced, the writers are likely working on a send-off.

Nothing was confirmed until recently, which makes things harder for the writers who tend to write several weeks in advance.

Port Charles will never be the same once Tracy Quartermaine leaves "General Hospital" but fans wish Jane Elliot the best as she heads off to enjoy her retirement.