The cancer of Andy Whitfield, star of the Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, has returned, and he has been advised by his doctors to resume “aggressive treatment.” Whitfield, diagnosed with stage 1 non-Hodgkin lymphoma in March, was thought to be in remission.
The network announced today that he will not be returning to star in the second season of the series, which had been scheduled for September 2011.
Here is the full statement from the network:
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.
“Our hearts and prayers are with Andy and his family during this difficult time,” said Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht. “Andy is not only an incredible actor whose portrayal of Spartacus made an indelible impression on Starz audiences, he is also an amazing human being whose courage, strength, and grace in the face of adversity have inspired all of us.”
No decisions have yet been made about the future of the series. “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.”
Starz still plans to air the prequel to Spartacus: Blood and Sand in January 2011. Entitled Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, it focuses on the House of Batiatus before Spartacus arrives in Capua and stars returning cast members John Hannah, Lucy Lawless, Peter Mensah and Manu Bennett, along with newcomer Dustin Clare.
- Starz to Air Six-Episode “Prequel” SPARTACUS Series
- SPARTACUS Star Andy Whitfield Diagnosed with Cancer, Production Temporarily Shut Down
- Starz Renews SPARTACUS For a Second Season (Before the Show Even Premieres!)
- Starz Developing Six-Episode SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND Prequel Series?
- SPARTACUS Star Andy Whitfield is Healthy and Ready to Return to Work