In March, it was revealed that breakout "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" star Andy Whitfield had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.  It was believed, however, that the cancer had gone into remission and Whitfield would be in the clear, allowing for a second season of Starz' buzzed about drama to move forward.  In fact, Whitfield had made a relatively subtle, but triumphant appearance in front of the show's fans on a "Spartacus" panel during July's 2010 Comic-Con seemingly in good health. Sadly, it is now confirmed the actor won't be returning for a second season.  In a statement today first reported by People, the 36-year-old Australian revealed his disease has returned. 

"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. "It seems that it is time for myself and my family to embark on another extraordinary journey."

It's unclear what Starz will do with Whitfield's departure from the series.  At this time, the company's President and CEO Chris Albrecht said, "Our hearts and prayers are with Andy and his family during this difficult time.  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."

Look for more news as this story develops on HitFix.