Rayna — who was played by actress Connie Britton — was killed off the hit CMT drama earlier this season. In her final episode, titled "If Tomorrow Never Comes," the country singer struggled to recover from a devastating car crash.
Following a heartbreaking, imaginary conversation with her dead mother, Rayna succumbed to her injuries and passed away surrounded by her family and friends. After the emotional episode aired on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, Connie took to Instagram to pay tribute to Nashville and her beloved character on the show.
Rayna's final Nashville episode.
"Thank you, Rayna Jaymes. For your magic and your dignity. And thank you to all the creators of Rayna Jaymes, for there were many. And then, of course, the crew of Nashville who brought her to life, every crew member in every department who made Rayna live each week," she wrote at the time.
As for why the 50-year-old actress decided to leave Nashville after five seasons, Connie simply explained that the "timing was right" for her to say goodbye to the series. "It was something that had been percolating over time, and there were lots of different reasons behind it. But my priority was really making sure that the timing was right. My priority has always been Nashville," she recently told TV Line.
Connie as Rayna on Nashville.
When asked if she thought her character, Rayna, had accomplished everything she'd hoped on the show, Connie candidly replied, "Maybe that was part of [me leaving]. As I said, there were a lot of things that came into play. Some of them were personal… It was just the right timing."
On Wednesday, June 7, Connie additionally opened up about departing from Nashville — and said the show could "go on indefinitely" despite her exit! "There were a lot of different reasons [why I left]. Some of them were creative and some of them were personal," she began.
"It was hard. It was hard and sad for everybody. But people who are fans of the show love the show so much, they love those characters so much. Nashville is such a rich world that it can go on indefinitely," Connie added.
Check out the gallery to see the Nashville cast then and now!