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        (Video provided by Us Weekly)

        Back in early September, "Modern Family" co-creator Christopher Lloyd told Entertainment Weekly that Season 10 of the hit ABC comedy would feature a dark moment -- the death of a "significant character on the series." The character's demise, he said, "will be a moving event -- and an event that has repercussions across several episodes."

        That death was revealed on the Oct. 24 Halloween episode of the Emmy-winning series -- and yes, fans were moved -- but perhaps not in quite the way the show's execs had in mind.

        a man and a woman posing for a picture: Julie Bowen and Jesse Tyler Ferguson appear on the Oct. 24, 2018, © Tony Rivetti / ABC Julie Bowen and Jesse Tyler Ferguson appear on the Oct. 24, 2018, Disappointed viewers took to the internet in droves to bash the hype as the person who died was someone who, though important to some of the characters, had little screen time and was rarely on fans' minds: Claire and Mitchell's mother, DeDe, the ex-wife of patriarch Jay Pritchett, who's been played by Shelley Long on only seven episodes since 2009 (though she did lend her voice to Wednesday's episode too).

        Sarah Hyland standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Sarah Hyland, Shelley Long and Ariel Winter appear on the May 2, 2018, episode of © Eric McCandless / ABC Sarah Hyland, Shelley Long and Ariel Winter appear on the May 2, 2018, episode of

        "Dede was the MAJOR character that died in #ModernFamily?! Dede??? #youvechangedMF," tweeted one fan.

        "Modern Family killing off DeDe is anticlimactic & feels like they hyped up an insignificant death for ratings. How boring. I was convinced it was going to be Dylan," tweeted another.

        Many more shared their disappointment in memes and GIFs. "Me: when I found out who died on Modern Family," wrote another online commenter, sharing a GIF of Djimon Hounsou as Korath the Pursuer in "Guardians of the Galaxy" when he make it clear he has no idea who Chris Pratt's Star-Lord even is.

        The tweets kept on coming, with this commenter summing up the feelings of many: "The person they killed off in modern family is Jay's ex wife. Got us all worked up thinking it was a main character." Added yet another: "I cried more when Rosario died on #WillandGrace #ModernFamily."

        Another referenced Shelley's other more notable sitcom exit. "Nope. Diane leaving #Cheers was way more emotional than DeDe dying. Sorry, #ModernFamily."

        Julie Bowen, Steven Levitan, Ariel Winter, Jesse Tyler Ferguson posing for a photo: Nolan Gould, Sarah Hyland, Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen, executive producer Steven Levitan and actors Ariel Winter, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet arrive at the FYC Event for ABC's © Amanda Edwards / Getty Images Nolan Gould, Sarah Hyland, Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen, executive producer Steven Levitan and actors Ariel Winter, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet arrive at the FYC Event for ABC's

        DeDe's death was revealed at the very beginning of the episode, which was titled "Good Grief." Claire and Mitchell learned from their mom's husband that she died peacefully in her sleep while on a trip to Greenland with her women's group.

        Steve Levitan, the show's co-creator and co-showrunner, told The Hollywood Reporter that they delivered the sad news right away to show that death can happen when people least expect it.

        "I lost my mom suddenly two years ago and that experience of getting that call and gather[ing] as a family was very fresh to me," Steve told THR. "I thought that was the interesting part [of the story] and the biggest challenge was how to do we get this big monumental and sad moment and still get some comedy out of it. We liked that challenge."

        Nolan Gould, Ty Burrell, Ariel Winter, Sarah Hyland, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Rico Rodriguez, Ed O'Neill posing for a photo: The cast of © Stewart Cook/REX/Shutterstock The cast of

        Why DeDe though? "She's directly involved with three of our characters and she touched everybody's life in some interesting way. It seemed like the right character to put everybody through something. She seemed like right character because she so directly affects so many of our characters," he explained.

        As for how Shelley took the news, "She was very sweet about it," Steve said. "We don't yet know if we're coming back for another season and we usually only see DeDe once a year. This was a good way to get a great send-off. The ramifications and emotional impact of this loss will remain for a little while."

        Related slideshow: 'Cheers' cast: Where are they now?


        Alec Baldwin leaves New York Police Department's 10th Precinct in New York City on Nov. 2, 2018. Next Story

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