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Whitfield forced to bow out of ‘Spartacus’

Actor requires more treatment for recurrence of cancer

A recurrence of cancer has forced actor Andy Whitfield to bow out of the planned second season of Starz’ drama “Spartacus: Blood and Sand.”

Production on the show’s second season was delayed to allow Whitfield to undergo treatment for cancer. But the disease has returned, forcing Whitfield to undergo more aggressive treatment.

Starz execs expressed their concern for Whitfield’s health and said no immediate decisions about the show’s future have been made.

Starz is set to begin airing a prequel series, “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena,”which does not include Whitfield, in January. That series was lensed earlier this year after Whitfield’s illness was dislcosed.

The loss of “Spartacus” could be a blow to Starz. The sword and sandal drama did strong biz for the pay cabler in its first season run early this year.

Starz CEO Chris Albrecht noted that Whitfield’s “courage, strength and grace in the face of adversity have inspired us all.”

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