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Ken Watanabe's Return to Broadway Delayed by Stomach Cancer Surgery

Watanabe discovered he had stomach cancer in January during a medical checkup and is currently recovering in Japan from a successful surgery.
Image: Ken Watanabe
Ken Watanabe as the King of Siam in "The King and I."Charles Sykes / AP

Ken Watanabe's return to Broadway to reprise the titular role in "The King and I" has been delayed due to surgery for stomach cancer, Watanabe's press agent confirmed to NBC News Tuesday.

The 56-year-old actor, who was nominated for a Tony Award for his portrayal of the King of Siam in his Broadway debut last year, was slated to return to the Tony Award-winning revival on March 1, with a seven-week run originally planned.

Watanabe will now return on March 17, the Lincoln Center Theater told NBC News Thursday. Hoon Lee, who is currently playing the King of Siam, will continue his run until March 16.

"I am preparing myself in earnest for the [Broadway] stage," Watanabe told Kyodo News. "I would like to ask for your understanding that the start of my performance in New York will be a little delayed."

Watanabe discovered the stomach cancer in January during a medical checkup, according to his press agent. He underwent a successful surgery and is currently recovering in Japan.

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This story has been updated.