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“Criminal Minds” Star Josh Stewart Exits Series: 'My Days of Playing Will LaMontagne Jr. Are Over'

The first season of 'Criminal Minds: Evolution' saw Josh's character have a cancer scare — and the showrunner says he's "not out of the woods" yet

<p>Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty</p> Josh Stewart at The Punisher premiere in 2019.

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

Josh Stewart at The Punisher premiere in 2019.

Josh Stewart won’t be returning to Criminal Minds: Evolution.

In response to a fan who inquired on X (formerly Twitter) about his character’s fate, the actor said: “No sadly, my days of playing Will LaMontagne Jr. are over.”

“You guys have been the absolute best,” he added.

Related: 'Criminal Minds' Cast: Where Are They Now?

Stewart, 46, first stepped into Will’s shoes for season 2 of the original Criminal Minds series. He’s been a somewhat constant face on the show ever since, appearing seasonally until a romance blossomed between his and A.J. Cook’s character Special Agent JJ Jareau.

The pair got married during the show's seventh season.

<p>Michael Yarish /Paramount+</p> (L-R) Allison Nordahl as Holly, Josh Stewart as William LaMontagne, Mia Coleman as Harlow and A.J. Cook as Jennifer on 'Criminal Minds: Evolution'.

Michael Yarish /Paramount+

(L-R) Allison Nordahl as Holly, Josh Stewart as William LaMontagne, Mia Coleman as Harlow and A.J. Cook as Jennifer on 'Criminal Minds: Evolution'.

With Criminal Minds: Evolution now airing, Will and JJ’s marriage continues to be a highlight of the series. Season 1 of Evolution brought terrible news to the couple, though, when Will told his wife he had been diagnosed with cancer. The plot was inspired by Cook’s real-life marriage, written from a cancer scare her husband had.

“It’s based on a true-life illness that we wanted to honor,” Criminal Minds: Evolution showrunner Erica Messer told TVLine. “We wanted to plant that seed now.”

The conclusion of the cancer storyline saw Will treated for a thyroid problem, and Messer teased, “next [season], hopefully, he’s going to be OK.” She added, “he’s not necessarily out of the woods forever.”

Related: 'Criminal Minds' Investigates a 15-Year Serial Killing Spree in Eerie Trailer for 'Evolution' Revival

It remains unclear if Stewart’s character was written out of season 2 intentionally, or if he decided to step away from the show. PEOPLE has reached out to Paramount+ for comment.

Criminal Minds: Evolution first debuted in 2022. Joe Mantegna (Dave), Paget Brewster (Emily Prentiss), Kirsten Vangsness (Garcia), Aisha Tyler (Tara) and Adam Rodriguez (Luke) all returned for the series.

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Criminal Minds: Evolution is now streaming on Paramount+, and episodes from the original Criminal Minds series can be found on Hulu. 

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