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Revisit the Most Heartbreaking Deaths on Chicago Med

Get the tissues ready, because the last eight seasons have had their share of tear-jerkers.

By Jessica White

From devastating medical diagnoses to shocking scandals, the deaths on Chicago Med are few and far between but always jaw-dropping. For eight nail-biting seasons, the show's doctors and nurses have saved so many lives, so the idea of one member of Gaffney's medical staff being taken too soon is heart-wrenching.

How to Watch

Watch Chicago Med Wednesdays at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock.

Death is always the invisible threat for Chicago Med's finest and occasionally, they are forced to say goodbye to their loved ones, shaking Chi-Hards to the core.

Below, revisit six of Chicago Med's deaths that fans didn't see coming.

Warning: This piece contains references to suicide and self-harm.

Dr. David Downey died via physician-assisted euthanasia

Colin Donnell as Dr. Connor Rhodes, Gregg Henry as Dr. Downey

David Downey (Gregg Henry) was a beloved cardiothoracic surgeon at Chicago Med during the series' debut season, introduced in Season 1, Episode 8 ("Reunion"). Throughout Season 1, then-Attending Physician Connor Rhodes (Colin Donnell) looked up to David, who in turn quickly became a mentor to Connor.

Connor, however, soon learned that David had been battling liver cancer for an extended time and, with each meeting, David's health had clearly worsened.

The younger physician was tasked with delivering the gut-wrenching news to his mentor that his cancer had spread to his brain and had become terminal. In Season 1, Episode 18 ("Timing"), Connor and David shared a final vulnerable exchange before Connor administered a lethal dosage of morphine to ease David's pain. 

Dr. Jason Wheeler died via suicide

Jurgen Hooper poses on a red carpet

Dr. Jason Wheeler (Jürgen Hooper) was a resident in Emergency Medicine at Gaffney Chicago Medical Center introduced in the Season 2 premiere ("Soul Care"). His storyline shined a light on mental health and the importance of treatment.

Jason struggled immensely while working in the ER, self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to handle the stress of the hospital's day-to-day demands. The self-medication sadly led to more difficulties; in Season 2, Episode 11 ("Graveyard Shift"), Jason even arrived to work drunk. 

Apprehensive and unsure of how to get treatment, Jason tried to connect with former psychiatric resident Sarah Reese (Rachel DiPillo). Jason told Sarah he might not be emotionally equipped to work in the ER, asking her about medication in Season 2, Episode 14 ("Cold Front") and later inquiring about what therapy is like in Season 2, Episode 16 ("Prisoner's Dilemma"). Sarah was interrupted before being able to answer Jason's therapy question and didn't have the ability to prescribe him medication. Worse, she shrugged these exchanges off as the typical stress that new residents always feel. 

Jason's final day at Chicago Med came during Season 2, Episode 17 ("Monday Mourning"): He arrived to work bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, happily greeting his coworkers at every opportunity. Despite his smiley demeanor, Jason's main goal was to get to the 10th-floor balcony, where he climbed onto the building's edge and jumped. He died upon impact.

Dr. Ava Bekker died via suicide after committing murder

Norma Kuhling as Ava Bekker

From Seasons 3-4 of Chicago Med, Ava Bekker (Norma Kuhling) was promising second-year resident and then attending physician in the Cardiothoracic Surgery department. Introduced in the Season 2 finale ("Love Hurts"), Bekker spent Seasons 3 and 4 under the mentorship of the renowned heart surgeon Dr. Marvin Jaffrey (Malcolm McDowell). There, Ava met fellow Connor, quickly developing a competitive but flirtatious rapport.

Their flirtatious tension bloomed into a full-blown relationship in Season 4, which began to crumble after Ava was accused of sleeping with Connor's father, Cornelius Rhodes (D.W. Moffett), to secure a donation to the hospital. Connor and Ava separated in Season 4, Episode 12 ("The Things We Do"), though Ava made repeated attempts to restore their relationship. 

Eventually, she decided the best way to repair their relationship was to kill Connor's father — which she did by giving him a lethal dose of insulin during surgery in Season 4, Episode 21 ("Forever Hold Your Peace").

Ava became an immediate suspect in the murder and, in the Season 5 premiere ("Never Going Back to Normal"), she confirmed her culpability. Knowing she was to be arrested for the murder, Ava cut her own carotid artery and, despite being whisked away to surgery, died on the operating table.

Cornelius Rhodes was murdered by Dr. Ava Bekker

Introduced as Connor's domineering father in Season 1, Episode 2 ("iNO"), Cornelius was a formidable force throughout his many guest appearances. Manipulative and abusive, the elder Rhodes often leveraged his wealth and economic affluence to get his way and control Connor's career. He also often competed with his son — including by showing a romantic interest in Ava — and went out of his way to overshadow Connor's accomplishments on numerous occasions. 

Cornelius eventually told Connor that Ava had slept with him in a desperate attempt to secure a grant for a project Connor was spearheading, a claim Connor came to believe after considering Ava's erratic behavior.

Ava gave Cornelius his fatal insulin dose on Connor's birthday, in Season 4, Episode 21 ("Forever Hold Your Peace"). 

Connor was left traumatized by the murder of his father and the subsequent suicide of his ex-girlfriend, and resigned in Season 5, Episode 1 ("Never Going Back to Normal").

Caroline Charles died of cancer

Caroline "CeCe" Charles (Paula Newsome) was both the first and the fourth wife of Dr. Daniel Charles (Oliver Platt), as well as the mother of their daughter Robin Charles (Mekia Cox).

Though the couple divorced after Robin's birth, Cece returned to Chicago in Season 4, Episode 15 ("We Hold These Truths") and reconnected with Dr. Charles after she sought out experimental remedies for her otherwise untreatable cancer. After he helped her find a treatment plan better suited to her needs, the couple decided to remarry in Season 4, Episode 22 ("With a Brave Heart") by flying to Hawaii for an impromptu ceremony and honeymoon. 

Despite the new treatment plan, CeCe's health continued to deteriorate and she passed away in Season 5, Episode 9 ("I Can't Imagine the Future"), leaving Dr. Charles heartbroken. 

Pat Halstead died of smoke inhalation

Pat Halstead (Louis Herthum) was the father of Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss) and Chicago P.D.'s Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer), appearing in Season 2 and Season 4 of Chicago Med.

Pat had a turbulent relationship with his sons, only reentering Will's life after the older man started having heart complications in Season 2, Episode 20 ("Generation Gap"). Will was tasked with convincing his father to get treatment for his cardiac complications — a difficult project considering their history of non-stop arguments. Will eventually convinced Pat to get the surgery, and the Halstead brothers comforted each other during the procedure, which went off without a hitch. 

Will was still working to fully mend their relationship when Pat's apartment building was set ablaze during the high-rise fire featured in Chicago Fire Season 7, Episode 2 ("Going to War"). Unfortunately, while Chicago Fire's fearless crew got Pat out of his apartment, he inhaled too much smoke and was declared brain dead at the hospital.

Jay and Will quarreled about the best course of action until Will finally agreed that taking their father off life support was the most ethical option. In one of the most heart-wrenching scenes in Chicago Med history, Will and Jay took their father off life support in Season 4, Episode 2 ("When to Let Go"). 

In Season 4, Episode 3 ("Heavy Is the Head"), the Halstead brothers celebrated Pat's life with a beautiful funeral.