Jean Passanante has decided to call it quits. The longtime soap opera writer isn't just stepping down as co-head writer of General Hospital -- she's retiring from soap opera writing altogether.
Passanante made an early morning Facebook post, which has since been deleted, announcing her decision not to renew her GH contract when it expires in August.
"Friends, soon I'll have more time for pie-baking because I've decided not to renew my contract with General Hospital," Passanante wrote. "I'll retire from soap-writing in August. The irony is that Con Ed must replace a gas pipe, and they show no signs of doing that in the foreseeable future. So we have no oven. It's like the Twilight Zone episode in which all Burgess Meredith wants is to read, and after a nuke drops on his town, he finds himself among the ruins of the library with all the books he can possibly read at his fingertips. And then he breaks his glasses."
In a subsequent interview with Soap Opera Digest, Passanante added, "I have been pondering it for a long time. It's a pretty consuming kind of job and you need to get your head clear of it every once in a while. It's been a great 27 years, or something like that -- it's a long time!"
When Twitter trolls questioned if, perhaps, Passanante was really being fired and trying to do some damage control, Passanante shot back that she was definitely not being let go.
"I am leaving on my own terms. Not being fired," Passanante responded to one Twitter post. "Sorry to disappoint you.
Things have been decidedly different in tweets from General Hospital stars.
"I'm soooo sad about this. You're amazing @PFossil," Laura Wright (Carly Corinthos) shared.
"But the story isn't done... you beautiful woman," added Michelle Stafford (Nina Clay). "Keep soaring!
"Jean Passanante has been a tremendous talent to the ABC family," said Vicki Dummer, head of Current Series Programming, ABC Entertainment in a statement. "Having come full circle -- she began her career with ABC in 1992 -- it is only fitting that she has decided to end her story where it began. While we are all sad to see her go, we are immensely impressed by her creative contributions and are grateful to have worked with her throughout her career and wish her well in her retirement."
Passanante has served as head writer for All My Children, Another World, As the World Turns, One Life to Live, and The Young and the Restless.
Are you shocked that Jean Passanante is retiring? Have you enjoyed her tenure at General Hospital? Are you wondering what kind of pie she'll bake first? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.