Modern Family has been teasing that a “significant” character would die in the show’s 10th — and possibly last — season, and on Wednesday, October 24, viewers finally found out the identity of the deceased. Warning: Spoilers ahead!

Within minutes of the long-running ABC comedy’s annual Halloween episode, Claire (Julie Bowen) received a phone call from her stepfather telling her that her mom, DeDe (Shelley Long), had died. No cause of death was initially given, but later in the episode, it was revealed that she had a heart problem that led to her dying peacefully in her sleep.

Claire and her brother Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) proceeded with their Halloween plans, reminiscing with each other and the family about some of the good — and not so good — times they shared over the years.

Throughout the past 10 seasons, DeDe had appeared on only eight episodes, causing many fans to complain that it was misleading for the show’s creator, Christopher Lloyd, to tease the death as a “significant” character.

“This seemed like the logical choice because it so directly affects three of our main characters,” Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan told EW. He explained that the show was looking for ways to put the long-running characters through something new and challenging. “It was also just a very nice send-off to the character and to Shelley Long, so it seemed like the thing to do.”

And the death of DeDe won’t be a one-episode thing, Levitan said. “There will be, in fact, another episode that will deal with ramifications of this.”

Were you surprised by DeDe’s death on Modern Family? Let us know @BritandCo.

(photo via ABC/Tony Rivetti)