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Andy Whitfield won’t return to Spartacus next season

Very unfortunate news for Spartacus: Blood and Sand star Andy Whitfield. Starz has released a statement revealing that the actor has been advised by his doctors to immediately resume aggressive treatment for a recurrence of cancer. Because of that, he will not be returning for the show’s second season, which was tentatatively set to air in September 2011:

“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.”

The full press release follows after the jump.

Andy Whitfield, star of Starz’s “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” has been advised by his doctors to immediately resume aggressive treatment for a recurrence of cancer, as a result of which he will not be returning for the series’ second season, which was tentatively set to air in September 2011.

“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.

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  • Tsonchev

    What the fuck is going to be the 3rd season of “Spartacus” without Andy. Man, I’d rather not watch it than do so with another actor playing Spartacus. These series’ will not even fall in the same category if Spartacus is not played by Andy. I’d rather wait for couple of years and see Andy’s return. I’m sure that millions of fans will agree with my opinion.

  • Joan Hammond

    You are obviously fighting, try hard not to give in Andy…. I know….the fight is hard and you don’t always win
    some battles. My heart and best wishes that you win the war against cancer. I’m about to embark mine..