Roger Howarth bids farewell to Austin Gatlin-Holt and “General Hospital:” 'I am deeply grateful'

After weeks of fan speculation, the not-so-good doctor met his end.

Port Charles has one less evil doctor roaming the halls of General Hospital.

Roger Howarth is saying goodbye to his character Austin Gatlin-Holt and to the long-running daytime soap after Austin was fatally shot on a Nov. 17 episode.

"Three things that I know for sure," Howarth wrote in an Instagram post. "1. Daytime fans are lovely and amazing and supportive and dedicated and I am deeply grateful to each sparkly one of them."

He continued, "2. I enjoyed my time at General Hospital and wish the cast and crew the best and continued success. It was a pleasure working with you all. 3. Life is amazing. We just don’t Ever know what’s gonna happen. How great! Turn toward the light. Always."

"Huge thank you to you all," Howarth ended his post.

That's a remarkably cheery attitude for someone last seen trying to smother his cousin with a pillow, but that's why it's called acting.

Gatlin-Holt's death probably didn't come as too much of a shock for GH fans, who have been speculating for weeks over the character's fate. In an interview with Soap Opera Digest, Howarth explained his exit, noting that his contract was up and the character had reached a creative dead-end.

"Well, several weeks ago, I got a phone call from somebody I’ve known for a very long time who I love very dearly [Executive Producer Frank Valentini] telling me that when my contract was up at ABC, I would not be offered a new contract," Howarth recalled, "and that the character of Austin would be killed, and that this was something that [they] both wanted and needed to do to move story."

Howarth's long and winding daytime career started with a brief role on the all-but-forgotten ABC soap Loving before taking on the role of Todd Manning on One Life to Live in 1992, for which he won an Emmy. When OLTL was cancelled in 2012, Howarth brought Manning over to GH, but he was later recast as Franco, replacing James Franco, who, rather confoundingly, originated that role in 2009.

Howarth portrayed Franco until March 2021, only to re-emerge as Dr. Gatlin-Holt months later in May. So, while Howarth's character may be done with General Hospital, there's a good chance Port Charles hasn't seen the last of the soap opera vet.

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