In scenes shown on Friday night (5 February), BBC1 viewers were shocked when immensely popular character Shabnam decided to leave Walford for a fresh start with her daughter Jade.
The exit had been kept fiercely guarded and came as a complete shock to soap fans - who seemed genuinely sad to say goodbye to the character, played by actress Rakhee Thakrar.
In fact, the storyline had so many viewers talking, the name Shabnam was trending all night!
Scenes between Shabnam and her husband Kush Kazemi - who'd cheated on her and fathered a son Arthur with her best friend Stacey Branning - left EastEnders fans weeping into their choccie biccies.
Rakhee Thakrar joined the cast of the BBC soap two years ago, and a significant storyline was Shabnam's tragic stillbirth last year - for which she was nominated for the Best Serial Drama Performance award at the National Television Awards last month.
Rakhee says of her exit: "My experience on this show has been really special, and I'm so grateful for having the chance to have played Shabs, she's a real gift. [She's] a complicated character, who I've loved getting to know.
"Now, I feel like it's the time to try different projects and new people to play. It was a hard decision as I really love this character and this show."
After the storyline aired, Rakhee acknowledged the love on Twitter with a simple heart emoji and a tweet saying: "Thank you. I miss you already (you know what I mean....)."
And here's how some of the thousands of Twitter fans reacted to Shabnam's departure...
Thank you I miss you already (you know what I mean....)— Rakhee Thakrar (@RakheeThakrar) February 5, 2016
The Eastenders divorce scene between Shabnam and Kush might just have broken my heart a little— Zahira (@Zazoo_) February 5, 2016
Genuinely devastated about Shabnam and Kush #EastEnders— Charlie Skidmore (@CharSkidmore) February 5, 2016
@bbceastenders...such an amazing episode...I'm in bits! Love Shabnam & Kush xxx— Jane Sloper (@janesloper) February 5, 2016
More upset about Kush and Shabnam breaking up than my own parents #EastEnders— Haych (@HarrisonAxo) February 5, 2016
This is the saddest thing I've watched in a long time. Kush and Shabnam#EastEnders— bry. (@KadeeneLoves) February 5, 2016
Shabnam is such a great character and such a great performance. I feel like she's a real person. #EastEnders— Gareth Roberts (@OldRoberts953) February 5, 2016
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