Jake Wood has said that he is "excited" by the prospect of new acting opportunities following his decision to leave EastEnders after 15 years.
The 48-year-old's departure was confirmed last week, with the soap promising a "huge" exit for Max Branning in the coming months.
Producers have also confirmed that Max will not be killed off, leaving the door open for a potential return in the future.
Taking to Instagram for the first time since the announcement, Wood wrote: "I have loved playing Max Branning who amongst other things in that time has had 4 marriages, 10 affairs, 4 children (2 dying from falling from the roof of The Queen Vic), been buried alive, watched unwanted DVDs at Xmas and perhaps most traumatising of all...shared a hot tub with Ian Beale.
"I have made some truly great friends whilst on the show and I'll miss everyone there.
"I'm grateful they have left the door open for Max and I'm excited to see what new horizons are around the corner.
"Thank you to everyone who has sent me messages this week, I appreciate the love and support"
The storyline leading to Max's exit will begin on screen in the next few weeks.