You can read the letter in full, which was received by ComicBook.com, below:
For coming with us on this journey. For the nine years of fear, heartache, anger and, let's face it, guts you've shown by making it through these 115 episodes and counting. And for services to journalism that go way behind any civilised levels of human endurance.
For understanding that despite the high volume of undead, this is actually an ongoing story about what it is to be alive. A story of hope, family and friendship. People with nothing in common discovering that they have everything in common. United in their search for humanity and a place to call home. A story that has perhaps even more relevance now than it did when we began.
It's been the most exciting, challenging and satisfying role of my career — and for the best part of a decade, the greatest adventure of my professional life. This season feels like the show I fell in love with all those years ago, and the world we were always heading toward when we wrapped the pilot episode.
By my own rough count, I've killed over 400 zombies during the apocalypse. Lost a horse, found a horse. Lost a girl... that didn't go well. Ate a dog once. Wore a meat poncho twice. Escaped from a bunch of hipster cannibals. Not to mention I've been shot twice, baseball batted, stabbed three times, bit a man's throat out (I'm sorry — that was weird — and tasted like chicken), and had my cowboy boots resoled... 12 times.
We began as an indie movie, and years later became a three-letter acronym (wtf?). And along the way, we've had the unique pleasure of meeting zombie enthusiasts all over our beautiful blue planet. From Tokyo to Trinidad, people have been united by their love of this story of survival... and Norman Reedus' extraordinarily luscious hair.
It's been a wild ride, shaped by the relationship between the show and the fans of the show, and in no small part you good people of the press.
I look forward to following your coverage of the show and my friends in Atlanta for seasons to come — what they have planned is quite incredible.
So thank you.
For all of it.
For the good, the bad... and of course, we wouldn't be a free press... without the ugly.
Until our paths cross again.
Keep Calm and Carry a Red Machete...
Lincoln's final episode, "What Comes After," airs November 4th. Past co-stars Jon Bernthal, Sonequa Martin-Green, and the late Scott Wilson are among those reprising their respective roles as part of Grimes' sendoff.
"There's something beautiful in the original DNA of the show in that it is all about change," Lincoln told EW. "The show will live on and it will continue to be great."2comments
He added: "What I don't want to do is stay too long when I think the show will actually benefit from other people taking the reins and forging a new path. And that's what I think is happening now. It's beautiful watching and seeing my dear friends who are incredible actors doing extraordinary things and turning it into a new show. And that is enormously gratifying."
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.