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It’s kind of hard to imagine Downton Abbey without Violet Crawley and her witty zingers, however fans of the series might want to start doing that as it sounds like Maggie Smith is on her way out of the popular ITV series after its third season.

The Daily Mail reports that Maggie Smith, who plays the Countess Violet Crawley in Downton Abbey, has told series creator Julian Fellowes that she wants the third season of the show to be her last. From what they’ve reported, she may stick around to do the Christmas special.

?The Daily Mail’s sources say Smith’s character will be written out of the show, and possibly “struck down by a fatal illness at the end of the third series.”

Though there was speculation about Smith’s return to the show when reports said she hadn’t renewed her contract, this is still likely to be disappointing news for fans of the series, considering what a great performance Smith has given in the series and the popularity of the character.

Downton Abbey is currently being filmed in London and is expected to return for Season 3 on ITV this fall. Those of us on this side of the pond will have to wait until January 2013 for the third season to air on PBS.