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'Spartacus' star Andy Whitfield departs series to battle cancer recurrence

09/18/2010 by Kristina Lopez

'Spartacus: Blood and Sand's Andy Whitfield beats cancer, ready to film season 2 (Photo courtesy of Starz)Andy Whitfield is leaving Spartacus: Blood and Sand to battle a recurrence of cancer, according to a statement from Starz.

"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," the 36 year-old actor said according to the statement. "It seems that it is time for myself and my family to embark on another extraordinary journey."

The actor was diagnosed with treatable Stage 1 non-Hodgkin lymphoma in March and then began treatment, while production on the second season of the series was put on hold. In June, it was reported that Whitfield was in remission and raring to go into season two production of the Starz adult-oriented gladiator series.

There is no news on who, if anyone will take Whitfield's place or what the series will do about the star's departure on screen.

Our hearts and prayers are with Andy and his family during this difficult time," Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht said according to the statement. "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."