Ellen Degeneres and Portia De Rossi
Ellen DeGeneres (L) and Portia de Rossi attend the People's Choice Awards 2017 at Microsoft Theater on January 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. De Rossi cited a new ‘business venture’ as the reason she left ScandalChristopher Polk/Getty Images for People's Choice Awards

Scandal season 6 saw a major twist with one of its popular characters being killed off. In the latest episode of Shonda Rhimes' political thriller, Elizabeth North was beaten to death by Mystery Woman (Zoe Perry) and boss Peus leaving Scandal fans shocked at the death of the popular character played by Portia de Rossi.

Responding to Lizzie's murder in the show, De Rossi's wife and prime-time talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres tweeted, "I'm proud of my wife for her epic performance on #Scandal. I will miss Lizzie Bear, but I'm glad Portia Bear is sitting right next to me".

The actress was a series regular in season 5 but in episode 11, entitled Trojan Horse (airing on 20 April on ABC), Olivia Pope's battle to free Cyrus from prison triggers a series of events and North pays a hefty price in her attempt to save Mellie's position in the White House.

However, De Rossi has now revealed it was her decision to exit the popular drama and cited a new business venture as the reason for her leaving the show. "I found a great business opportunity I wanted to pursue that was taking my interest away from acting and a career I've had for 20-plus years and putting it elsewhere that was very time consuming. I approached Shonda and asked if it would be OK if I could leave Scandal. She was nothing but supportive and wished me luck in my business venture," she told Hollywood Reporter.

Showcreator Rhimes, meanwhile, called Liz North's character a "smart, powerful and vulnerable soul" and wished Portia all the best for her new venture. "I have been a fan of Portia's for years and it was an honour to have her join our Scandal family," she said in a statement released on Twitter.

"Portia infused Liz North with a smart, powerful and vulnerable soul while also making the humor sing – and that brought all of us in the writers' room a lot of joy. If I could keep her forever, I would – but kidnapping is illegal. Besides, I am incredibly impressed with the vision she has for her creative future. I wish her all the best."