Australian actor Andy Whitfield, who played the lead title character on the TV drama “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” will not return to the series’ second season because of a cancer recurrence that will require treatment, the Starz network announced.
As reported by People magazine, Whitfield released a statement: "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."
The actor was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins’ lymphoma this past spring. Production was stopped as Whitfield was being treated, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It added that there is no word on “Spartacus”’ future plans—the second season was tentatively slated for September 2011.
"Our hearts and prayers are with Andy and his family during this difficult time," Chris Albrecht, Starz President and CEO, said. “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."