Last week The Simpsons was renewed for it’s 27th and 28th season (despite the fact, that, y’know, it hasn’t been good since about 2001). However, the show will be missing one key part when it returns.

Harry Shearer, the voice of Mr Burns, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner and loads of other supporting characters, has announced on Twitter that he is leaving the show. It’s not known exactly why he’s quit—in his tweet he says he wants ”the freedom to do other work.” Shearer has been on the show for 26 years, but has been critical of decline in recent seasons.

Shearer also voices Kent Brockman, Smithers, Reverend Lovejoy, Dr. Hibbert, Lenny, Otto and Rainier Wolfcastle, amongst others. Fox haven’t said whether they’ll retire his characters (like the did with when Marcia Wallace and Phil Hartman died), or re-cast them. Or maybe they could use it as excuse to let the show finally die a noble death.

UPDATE: A statement from Simpsons showrunner Al Jean has appeared on Twitter, saying that Mr Burns and Flanders will not be killed off or retired, and instead will be recast with new voice actors.

[via The Verge]