"Kimberly McCullough has decided to pursue her dream of directing full-time, so she has decided to leave General Hospital as storyline dictates," a spokesperson said in a statement. "Expect a poignant and must watch storyline for Robin and Patrick."
Internet rumors of McCullough's impending exit first surfaced last month. McCullough was asked to address the rumors in a recent interview, but the actress carefully tiptoed around confirming or denying her exit.
"[I]f I was to leave, it would be tough," McCullough told Soap Opera Digest. "I've grown up here, but I see it as something that would continue in my life. It's always been a part of my life."
Talk again heated up over the weekend when, at a fan event, Steve Burton (Jason Morgan) told fans that McCullough had opted to leave the show.
McCullough originated the role of Robin Scorpio in 1985 when she was just seven years of age. A General Hospital fixture through 1997, McCullough made occasional appearances following her exit from the show. In 2001, McCullough and her alter ego also crossed over to ABC's All My Children for several episodes to visit her on-screen mother, Anna Devane.
Before McCullough returned to GH in 2005, rumors of her imminent return surfaced on the Internet every few months. In fact, in February 2004, one fan went as far as to craft a bogus press release announcing McCullough's return complete with quotes attributed to various show and network executives.
McCullough has earned two Daytime Emmy wins during her time with General Hospital. The actress was named Outstanding Younger Actress in 1989 and 1996.
A final airdate has yet to be announced, but McCullough is expected to air into the first quarter of 2012.