Andy Whitfield departs from Spartacus to fight cancer for second time.
Andy Whitfield departs from Spartacus to fight cancer for the second time.
On of the most intense shows on TV will be without its star for the foreseeable future. Spartacus: Blood and Sand star Andy Whitfield announced today that he would have to step down from the show so that he could return to aggressive treatment for the recurrence of his cancer.
Andy Whitfield was diagnosed last March with treatable Stage 1 non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. After his diagnosis, production of Spartacus: Blood and Sand was put on hold while he sought treatment. In May he was given a clean bill of health, issued a statement that he felt “better than ever” and he got back to work training and preparing for the upcoming season. He fully expected to be part of the show and even attended the show’s panel at Comic Con.
To help quench fan’s thirst for the show while he sought treatment, Starz began production on Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, a spin off show that would focus on the rise to power of the House of Batiatus before Spartacus’ arrival. Production on that show continues in New Zealand with an expected air date of January 2011. With Whitfield healthy again, production on Season 2 of Spartacus: Blood and Sand was set to being soon, but has now been put on permanent hold.
Andy Whitfield made the announcement today that his cancer had returned. “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. Whitfield says he will be focusing all of his attention of fighting his returning cancer and getting himself healthy again.
“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.”
Starz has announced that Spartacus: Gods of the Arena will continue production and air as scheduled, however there have been no decisions made about the immediate future of Spartacus: Blood and Sand.
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