Credit: Image Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

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After playing little-rich-boy-turned-hitman-with-a-heart-of-gold Jason Morgan on General Hospital for 21 years, Steve Burton is calling it quits. He told that “it’s been nothing but a huge positive in my life and for my family. I have no complaints, no negative feelings at all. But it’s time to go.” He says his last tape date is Sept. 25, after which he’ll head to his new spread in Tennessee with his wife and two kids.

Reps for GH have declined to comment, but sources close to the show say that Burton’s words stand on their own, that it was well-known that he was thinking about leaving for some time now, and the details of his exit, including any possibility of recasting, are still being worked out. Jason is a hub character who affects many other story lines.

Burton tweeted to his fans Tuesday morning: “Morning. Just wanted to thank all of you for your support over the years. You are amazing. It’s been an incredible 21 yrs of my life.THANK YOU” And a few hours later: “Thanks for all the luv. I know it’s difficult for some. It is difficult for me. I luv the cast and crew… it has been home. Hoping to tweet ltr.”

Laura Wright, who plays Jason’s BFF Carly, tweeted to fans: “I’m happy I’m home with my kids today. But yes I’m sure most of you are sad about Stevie B. but I’m sure most of you understand his need to move on and have a life change. 21 yrs is a long time. Steve in (sic) so talented with so many interest I am happy and excited for my friend who I will miss !!”

But not to fear, Burton will have a mini-GH reunion of sorts soon. He says he’ll be producing and starring in a new telenova with James Franco, who famously guest starred as deranged artist Franco on GH. Former GH exec producer Jill Farren Phelps (currently at Young and the Restless) will also exec produce this new series; she also did Hollywood Heights, on which Franco also made a guest appearance.

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