Sad news indeed as it seems Spartacus: Blood and Sand star Andy Whitfield won’t be able to return to the show for its second season due to health complications. According to Starz, the network which produces the show, the actor’s doctors have advised him to stop training for season two of the series and seek immediate, aggressive treatment for his illness.
The actor was first diagnosed with treatable Stage 1 non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in early March but had been in remission. He was even at Comic-Con in San Diego where we spoke to him and he seemed perfectly healthy and in good spirits, ready to begin season 2 of the series.
Starz is currently in production on a prequel series called Spartacus: Gods of the Arena which it plans to air in January and then was to begin production on season 2 of the main series following that for a planned return in mid 2011. Obviously, with this news on Whitfield’s condition, things have changed.
As fans of Whitfield and the show we are saddened to hear of his condition, We wish him all the best for a full and speedy recovery.
Click through to read the full press release from Starz.
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.
This shocking news that he needs aggressive treatment for a recurrence of cancer was made public today by Starz cable network and the Spartacus: Blood and Sand star himself, Andy Whitfield. He was first diagnosed with treatable Stage 1 non-Hodgkin lymphoma in early March. But recently the actor had been in remission and training hard for Season 2. He even attended the Spartacus panel at Comic-Con where he said he felt “better than ever”. His first diagnosis put production on hold for the next season while he underwent treatment. He was given a clean bill of health in May. To bridge the two seasons of Spartacus, Starz greenlighted the prequel Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, which is now filming in New Zealand and will premiere in January as planned. However, the future of the mothership series is unclear. Production on the second season was supposed to start soon.