WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for The Walking Dead #192, by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard, on shelves now.
The Walking Dead #191 left Rick Grimes on death's doorstep after he was shot by Sebastian Milton, son of Governor Pamela Milton. Although he's nearly died several times in the past, The Walking Dead #192 confirms Rick Grimes is officially dead, getting shot several more times by Sebastian, returning as a zombie and then being put down by son Carl Grimes.
In the "Letter Hacks" section of the issue, Walking Dead creator Kirkman explained the choice, writing, "Rick's death was planned longer than any death in the series. I've been working toward this since I started writing... issue #1. It doesn't make it any easier, but it's been something I've been getting more and more used to as the years got down to months and then weeks... I knew it was coming."
"Even before we introduced Sebastian Milton (in issue #177) I knew he was the one who would kill Rick Grimes," he continued. "For almost a decade now I knew Rick would choose to preserve the Commonwealth no matter the cost... and it would cost him his life."
"I've said in interviews for many, many years, that everyone dies in this story, and that even Rick Grimes won't survive until the end," he added. "While this was always Rick's story thus far, as written about in the first issue, that doesn't mean he needs to be alive to be a presence in the series. This is the story of a world, not a man... it's the story of a world profoundly affected by that man, as we'll see starting next issue... but it isn't exclusively Rick's story."
Kirkman went on to explain that he understands if people are angry or upset at him for the death. However, he promised that the "next issue and beyond will very much continue to be like The Walking Dead. After 192 issues, I hope I've earned a little trust." He then explained that Rick exiting the AMC show had no bearing on his decision to kill Rick.
The remainder of the letter is dedicated to talking about inker Stefano Gaudiano, who will depart the series after this issue.
The Walking Dead #193 will hit shelves July 3.