Fans of “Grey’s Anatomy” were surprised to see a major spoiler revealed in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, which arrived a day early for many subscribers in the U.S.

The entertainment magazine is delivered to newsstands each week on Friday, but some subscribers receive it at their homes a day earlier on Thursday. And this particular edition is one “Grey’s Anatomy” fans would not want to read prior to the Thursday night episode on ABC.

EW apologized for the spoiler in a statement: “We are surprised that an EW subscriber may have received their issue a day earlier than planned. We always try our best to bring readers exclusive news first. We would like to apologize to fans of the show that learned the news ahead of time.”

[SPOILER ALERT: Stop reading if you don’t want to know any details of Thursday’s “Grey’s Anatomy” episode.]

Word of a big development for series star Patrick Dempsey leaked out via social media on Thursday afternoon after images of the upcoming issue of Entertainment Weekly surfaced on Instagram. The issue featured a photo of Dempsey and the headline “The Doctor is … Out,” suggesting that the character dies.

Speculation about a big shakeup on the show was also heightened when ABC announced a schedule change for its lineup next week, with a two-hour episode of “Grey’s” set for next week, which will push “Scandal’s” season finale to May 14 rather than May 7.

Dempsey has played Dr. Derek Shepherd on “Grey’s” since its inception in 2005.