"We recently met with Matt to inform him we will not extend a contract offer for the 2016 season," general manager Ryan Pace said in a statement released by the team.
"These decisions are never easy, especially given what Matt has meant to our team and community. We have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Matt is one of the all-time great Bears and did an excellent job for us on and off the field last season. He was a tremendous teammate. We thank him for his professionalism and wish him the very best as he continues his career."
Since joining the Bears in 2008 as a second-round draft pick from Tulane, Forte leads all NFL players with 12,718 yards from scrimmage and ranks fourth with 8,602 yards rushing. He also tops all running backs with 487 receptions and 4,116 receiving yards.
Forte ranks second in Bears history behind Hall of Famer Walter Payton in rushing yards, receiving yards by a running back, yards from scrimmage, 100-yard rushing games (24), scrimmage yards per game (106.0) and games with at least 150 yards from scrimmage (25).
In 2015, Forte ran for 898 yards and four touchdowns on 218 carries, despite missing three games with a knee injury. He led the Bears in rushing for the eighth straight year—the longest stretch since Payton was the team's top rusher for 12 consecutive seasons from 1975-86.
Forte, who turned 30 in December, also became the second fastest player in NFL history to compile 8,000 yards rushing and 4,000 yards receiving behind only Marshall Faulk.
A team-captain in 2015, Forte is a two-time recipient of the team's Brian Piccolo Award (2008 and 2014), the team's 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee and was one of eight NFL finalists for the 2015 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.
Forte delivered a message to fans Friday, writing: "Despite my wishes, my days as a member of the Chicago Bears have sadly come to an end. I was informed earlier this week from the GM that they will not be attempting to re-sign me in free agency.
"I will remain forever grateful for my time spent in Chicago and being able to play for an organization with such a rich history. My only regret is not being able to win a Lombardi trophy for the best fans in all of sports. I'm excited about the next chapter of my NFL career. But, Chicago will always be home. God Bless and Bear Down!"