America Ferrera's 'Heartbreaking' Superstore Exit: 'It's Not Gonna Be the Same Without Her,' Says Lauren Ash

Superstore Lauren Ash America Ferrera

America Ferrera‘s Superstore co-stars are weighing in on her imminent departure from the NBC comedy.

On Friday, the Peacock net made the shocking announcement that the star and executive producer of its Thursday-night workplace comedy will exit the series this spring at the end of Season 5. Ferrera also released a statement, which in part read, “The last five years on Superstore have been some of the most rewarding, enriching and enjoyable years of my career. Producing, directing and acting with this wonderful cast and crew has given me opportunities to grow as a person and storyteller… As I start the next chapter for my family and career, I wish only the best, and much continued success, to my beloved Superstore family.”

Shortly thereafter, Ferrera’s castmates reacted on social media, beginning with Lauren Ash’s heartfelt Instagram tribute:

Well, huge day for Superstore. Where to even begin? The cast started this journey as strangers and quickly became family. The idea that one of our family members isn’t going to be around anymore after 5 years, well, that’s tough for me to accept. Cause the thing is, as Dina and Amy’s friendship grew, so did Lauren and America’s. It’s not gonna be the same without her. But, Superstore has always done an amazing job of reflecting real life situations and challenges. And these kinds of things are a part of life. People we love have to move away or move on all the time. And it sucks. And it’s heartbreaking. But it’s a real part of life. And I don’t know of any show better to tackle what that’s like, than ours.

@AmericaFerrera, I love you. I value every laugh and dance and song break we’ve shared. You’re my family for life. I know you are going to continue to be a force of nature in all you do, both professionally and personally. I can’t wait to see what’s next for you. Like I always tell people, I want to be you when I grow up. Rizzoli and Isles forever, my love.

Colton Dunn also chimed in on Instagram, writing, “It’s been a pleasure working with her. I wonder if I scared her off? Maybe I should of stopped lurking behind her between takes.”

Ferrera will make her last appearance as store manager Amy Sosa in the April 16 finale. There is no word yet on her exit storyline, though the seeds have been planted for Amy to move up to Cloud 9 corporate and leave Store 1217 behind. In Season 5, the character has softened her anti-corporate stance, while her boyfriend Jonah remains dedicated to starting a workers union.

Meanwhile, Superstore has already been renewed for a sixth season, which will kick off next fall with its milestone 100th episode.