Andy Whitfield, the star of Starz’s “Spartacus: Blood and Sand”, has had a recurrence of cancer and won’t be returning for the show’s second season, Starz said on Friday.
The actor, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in March, was declared cancer-free earlier this summer but has been advised by his doctors to immediately resume aggressive treatment.
“It’s with a deep sense of disappointment that I must step aside from such an exceptional project as ‘Spartacus’ and all the wonderful people involved. It seems that it is time for myself and my family to embark on another extraordinary journey. Thank you sincerely for the support so far,” said Whitfield in a statement.
The second season of the show had been postponed initially, so Whitfield could undergo treatment. In its place, Starz scheduled a prequel series, “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena,” that instead focused on his co-stars Lucy Lawless and John Hannah, telling the story of the rise of the House of Batiatus and its champions before the arrival of captured slave Spartacus.
Whitfield was supposed to return to the set next month. No decisions have yet been made about the future of the series, Starz said. “Right now, we just want to extend our concern and support to Andy and his family,” said Carmi Zlotnik, managing director, Starz Media. “We will address our programming plans at some later date.”
Whitfield also appears in the upcoming Australian thriller “The Clinic,” opposite “Legend of the Seeker’s” Tabrett Bethell.