"I can confirm that this is the last season I will be on this amazing TV show as Michonne," Gurira said from Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con.
"I'd just like to say that this has been one of the purest joys of my life, to play this role, and to be amongst these people and those that are not here right now and amongst all of you. I am very, very thankful for the experience that I've had in ways I can't even express right now. I will say my heart does not leave, in any way shape or form."
Since joining TWD in its third season in 2012, "I felt this energy, and it doesn't ever end. The connection between us never ends, and that's what keeps me going with the decision I made," the Michonne star said.
"It was a very difficult one, and it's not connected to my heart. My heart stays right here. But it was about my calling, in a sense, and other things I feel called to. And the opportunities I've had, wanting to explore them for others through the other thing I do as a creator of work. So all I'm filled with is a lot of pain about leaving, and a lot of gratitude, and thanks to all of you, I love you guys, I love this show. TWD Family is forever. Forever. Thank you all so much, I love you all."
Co-star Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who embraced Gurira during Hall H's standing ovation for the actress, later told IMDb at Comic-Con the exit of Gurira following the Season 9 departure of Rick Grimes star Andrew Lincoln is "another adjustment."
"But year ten of this show, that's rarified air, and I think [showrunner Angela Kang] and the writers have a really good grasp of what's happening moving forward, and we'll see what that world looks like," Morgan said.
"But I think what we did last year after Andy left, I was very proud of, and hopefully we'll be able to do the same thing now with Danai leaving. But it's a hole that you can never fill. That's the truth of the matter, you can't fill Andy or Danai leaving the show."
Kang has handled Michonne's final season with the same level of respect and responsibility shown to Rick, and Gurira is "absolutely" satisfied with the manner in which Michonne's time with the television show comes to its end.
"I think there's a stunning amount of work that Angela does with her team, the way that they come at story, and even allow you to participate, is really fantastic. And so I really felt able to not only participate and collaborate, but I also felt they created such a great structure for how Michonne would leave the show," Gurira told MTV.
"I felt very taken care of, and I felt really honored, actually. They really put you to task as an actor, as a storyteller, and you want that, you want to leave depleted. And they definitely set that up for that to be the case."
Gurira's final season of TWD premieres Sunday, October 6 on AMC.