Drama

'Nashville' kills off major character

Charles Esten, who stars as Deacon Claybourne on CMT's new season of "Nashville," credits the show's die-hard fans with helping to bring the show back from cancellation.

 

Warning: Do not proceed if you have not watched Thursday's "Nashville."

Connie Britton is breaking her silence after a heartbreaking "Nashville" episode.

On Thursday's installment, titled "If Tomorrow Never Comes," Britton's character, Rayna Jaymes, dies after complications from injuries she sustained during a violent car accident. The death shocked fans and Britton took to social media that evening to share an emotional note expressing her deepest gratitude.

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"Thank you Rayna Jaymes. For your magic and your dignity," the 49-year-old actress wrote on Instagram, alongside a smiling photo of her as Rayna, listing all the key people and players who made the character sing.

"['Nashville' creator] Callie Khouri, who gave her life," Britton continues. "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."

She went on to thank the tireless crew on the show "who brought her to life, every crew member in every department who made Rayna live each week," as well as the musical masterminds such as T-Bone Burnett, "who gave Rayna a voice." "There was no music, and no Rayna, without you."

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The former "Friday Night Lights" alum saved the best for last, thanking the fans who have stuck with Rayna and Nashville through thick and thin.

"You made Rayna," Britton writes. "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," she ends the letter, accompanying it with the hashtag "#RIPRayna."

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ET spoke with series star Charles Esten ahead of Thursday's emotional episode, who called it a "powerful" hour of television.

"It's a crucial episode," the 51-year-old actor said. "I've never had an episode where more people who have seen it already within our production have reached out to me to tell me how powerful they found it. I brought everything I could for this episode. We all did."

"Nashville" airs Thursdays on CMT.

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