The cancellation of ABC's Nashville has left fans reeling -- and it's got the cast feeling the same way. In an interview on Friday morning (May 13), Charles Esten, who plays Deacon Claybourne on the TV drama, opened up about receiving the surprising news.

During a conversation with Storme Warren on SiriusXM's The Highway channel, Esten revealed that the Nashville cast learned of the show's cancellation around the same time as their fans did; "it sort of broke quickly on social media," he notes. Esten himself received the news through a text from Nashville's creator and executive producer, Callie Khouri.

Though he admits that he was caught off guard, especially since a new writing team had already been hired for the next season, Esten says that he knows that each of Nashville's four seasons was a blessing; on Twitter on Thursday (May 12), the actor wrote, "So grateful to so many for the dream that has been #Nashville. Not always easy to be Deacon. But to play him? An absolute joy and an honor."

Esten tells Warren, "For me, the biggest feeling, honestly ... that keeps running through me ... is that feeling of gratitude. I've been an actor for a long time. And I had, maybe at my age, given up thinking I would get a role like this or a show like this. In fact, I didn't even know such a thing existed -- it didn't really until Nashville. I think there was a certain magic in it."

He continues, "I'm very, very grateful that I even got this chance ... I've never honestly had a second season of anything, so four seasons of the dream job of my life is kind of more than I'd ever asked or imagined. Having said that, it's as bittersweet for me as anybody."

Throughout his conversation with Warren, Esten thanked everyone involved in the show, from the producers and his fellow actors to the crew and Nashville residents; "[the Nashville crew] blew away any L.A. crew that I've ever been a part of," he admits. Though Esten was able to project a huge amount of gratitude and positivity, the ending of the show is, as expected, hard to swallow.

"I'm hurting," he says, "and I hurt for everybody who hurts as well."

Despite Nashville's cancellation, Esten and his family plan to stay in Music City.

"This show has brought me so many blessings that cancelling could never take away," Esten notes, including the friendships that he, his wife and kids have built. "We're not going anywhere."

Nashville's Season 4 finale, set to air on May 25, will now be its series finale. For those fans who are worried about getting closure on the show's storylines, Esten shares that alternate versions were shot, so they're "prepared for this contingency."

Esten closes his conversation with Warren by saying, "I'm an actor, and this is what I face; this is what we all face when we're in this business. There's are people out there facing much harder things, so I don't want to equate any of this with that. Having said that, it's also people's livelihood in this town, and it is lots of people's hearts in this town.

"This is a gorgeous gorgeous city ...," he adds. "That we could have had any part in the time of letting some of the world see what a great city this is, this is something they can't take away."

European concert tour featuring select Nashville castmembers is scheduled for June, and a new soundtrack has just been released.

Country Stars Who Have Acted in TV Shows and Movies