Andy Whitfield bows out of 'Spartacus' to resume cancer treatment

Andy-WhitfieldImage Credit: ireImageSpartacus: Blood and Sand star Andy Whitfield will not be returning to the second season of the Starz series, the network announced today via press release. The actor, who was in remission after being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in March, has been advised to resume “aggressive treatment” for the disease. “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,” Whitfield said in the release. “It seems that it is time for myself and my family to embark on another extraordinary journey. Thank you for the support so far.”

The series had delayed production in the spring while Whitfield underwent treatment; the actor had been training for the second season after he was declared cancer-free in June. At this point, the network has not made any decisions regarding the series’ future. “Right now, we just want to extend our concern and support to Andy and his family,” Starz Media’s Managing Director Carmi Zlotnik said in the statement. “We will address our programming plans at some later date.” Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, a prequel to the series, will still air as scheduled in January 2011.

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  • Jeanius

    Sending tons of good vibes Andy’s way.

    • Bobby

      Andy “was the Show” the Sesaon I DVD set that I got for christmas was at the top of my list – I hope the producers and the Network do the right thing and offer him the part after this “prequel” All my best to Andy and his family And God speed on a fast and healthy recovery

  • Amber

    That’s so scary; looks like the cancer has returned. My best wishes to Andy and his family.

    • Michelle

      Don’t care for the show, but HE is amazing. I hope he comes back stronger than ever and in something even better.

  • Troia

    what a horrible tragedy :(
    Andy was amazing in the role of Spartacus…he totally made the show.

    • Heidi

      its a brilliant ensemble but i do agree that he made the cast and i can’t picture any of the others stepping up to take his place. They are going to have to shift their story somehow.
      With that said I am sending my prayers Andy’s way. Fight the good fight! He’s got that gladiator spirit and i hope it gets him through this next round.

  • Jason

    Hoping for a speedy recovery. I loved Spartacus, and he was great in it. Quick recovery….

  • Joseph T

    So sad :( He was wonderful in the role. Best wishes to him and his family.

  • fras

    So sorry to hear that, hope Andy gets better. Wonder what Starz will do now that their lead actor is out of the show? Will they reboot it or get another actor for the second season?

    • ann

      I kind of hope they don’t. We LOVED this show, and we’re looking forward to the upcoming pre-season. But I don’t think they could replace him (he made the show!), and he’s obviously not coming back, so it just makes sense to leave it as one fabulous season.

      • bruno

        amen

  • M Weyer

    I don’t see them recasting and Andy just made the role so much his own. The finale of the series was set to act as both series and season finale so possible they may just decide not to do a second season after all. A shame but his health is more important than a TV show.

    • Zturk

      This puts Starz in a bad situation they have to bring it back because it is a Huge (cannot stress this enough collosal) hit for them ratings wise they have to recast and bring back My suggestion that while on the *spoiler* warpath he wears a mask/helmet and they build up side characters and hopefully Whitfield recovers and they can bring him back. up Best wishes to whitfield and family.

    • TR

      While I truly I hope Andy recovers, I also hope they will not stop the series.

  • Ahmed

    Much as I absolutely LOVED Spartacus, not sure I’d want to see season 2 with another actor. So terribly sad, but wishing Andy W. a complete and full recovery.

    • ann

      Yes. Exactly.

  • lclabon

    Oh God NO!!!! This can’t be happening. An aspect of why the show is so hella great is because of it’s perfect casting, So what the hell are they going to do now? I generally have a problem with replacement actors in the original’s breakthrough roles anyway. What a travesty.
    All my well-wishes Andy.Ic

  • Silent Rage

    This sucks, hope he gets better…
    “..in June. At this point, the network has not made any decisions regarding the series’ future. ” I could have sworn I read Starz had already green lit a second season well before the season finale?

    • jodipo

      well dont you think that maybe with their star now quitting it may put things up in the air? I hope Andy gets better, the show doesnt matter squat next to his health

      • Silent Rage

        You missed the point of my question, but oh well.

    • ann

      They had green lit it – but “at this point” – as in at the point of him bowing out, they are now up in the air on what to do.

    • Shiny

      They’ve already filmed the prequel, six episodes I think, so they can air that instead. Fingers crossed he’ll be on the mend and be able to come back next year.

  • Terry

    Good Luck Andy

  • DiMi

    I’m so sad for him. I thought he was wonderful even though the show itself had highs and lows for me. I hope they just do another show from that period. I don’t think they can replace him.

  • Slezak

    Maybe Michael Cera can step in

    • Shiny

      You are cruel. Would be funny to see Cera take on the gladiators in the ring; would last about .0001 seconds.

  • Lolita

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! *cry*

  • leo

    i wish him all the best, get well soon andy!

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