Actors Michael Weatherly and Pauley Perrette in a scene from "NCIS" Season 13. CBS

“NCIS” is saying goodbye to an original cast member. Michael Weatherly, who has played Special Agent Tony DiNozzo since 2003, will leave the show in Season 13.

TVLine first reported the news and revealed that the actor made the decision to leave the CBS procedural. Weatherly, 47, then wrote a series of tweets Tuesday confirming the report. “I will miss the amazing crew & cast, who are like family to me, & to the fans all over the world - THANK YOU, it’s been a fantastic ride!” he wrote.

But how will “NCIS” address Weatherly’s departure? They have plenty of time to work out a proper exit, but it isn’t clear what that will be. That won’t stop fans from speculating though.

In Season 2, original cast member Sasha Alexander left the role of Agent Kate Todd and was killed off. DiNozzo could die in his final hour. They’re in a dangerous line of work, so it wouldn’t be hard for the agent to end up in a deadly confrontation with a criminal. The storyline would certainly be heartbreaking for the team (and viewers), but if Weatherly doesn’t want to return to the show, it could happen.

However, when Kate’s replacement, Agent Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) left, the writers took a different approach. Ziva resigned from NCIS and moved to Israel. Tony tried to get her to come back to the U.S., but she wanted to stay in her home country. Writers could take a similar approach with Tony and leave the door open for a possible return.

The writers haven’t (and likely won’t) reveal how Tony will be written out of "NCIS," but what do you want to see? Take the poll below:

Though DiNozzo will be exiting, Weatherly won’t leave CBS just yet. In a statement, the network reminded fans that the actor has a deal to produce new shows. “We thank Michael for all of his contributions to this successful franchise, and look forward to continuing to develop projects him as part of our ongoing development deal."

“NCIS” Season 13 airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.