Cancer Resurgence Forces Andy Whitfield From 'Spartacus,' Leaves Starz Series' Future In Doubt

Andy Whitfield arrives at the premiere of Paramount Pictures' "Middle Men" in Los Angeles on August 5, 2010 Andy Whitfield arrives at the premiere of Paramount Pictures' "Middle Men" in Los Angeles on August 5, 2010

Starz network says “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” star Andy Whitfield is leaving the show to battle a recurrence of cancer.

Production of the “Spartacus” series’ second season was postponed this spring when Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The cable television network said Whitfield was responding well to treatment, but the cancer has returned.

The British-born Whitfield played the gladiator hero in the show’s breakout first season.

The network said co-stars Lucy Lawless and John Hannah would take center stage for a six-episode prequel leading up to Spartacus’ arrival. It will air beginning in January.

In a statement, Whitfield expressed regret at leaving the series while describing his cancer battle “as another extraordinary journey.”

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