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    "7th Heaven" Star Battles Hodgkin's

    TV's Camden family is saving its real-life prayers for Barry Watson.

    The 28-year-old dreamboat, who plays eldest son (and newly married) Matt Camden on the WB's top-rated 7th Heaven, has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, a form of lymphatic cancer, his publicist confirmed Tuesday.

    The rep says doctors have advised Watson that the disease, which most often occurs in young adults and people over 55, "is 95 percent curable."

    "He begins treatment this week, and both he and his doctors are extremely optimistic about a full recovery," his rep said in a statement. No other details were released regarding Watson's current condition.

    Watson just finished up his sixth and final season as the eldest son in TV's spiritually minded Camden clan. Monday's season finale pulled in a whopping 9 million viewers as his character finally tied the knot with his sweetheart Sarah (Sarah Danielle Madison), a girl whom he recently met.

    The series, costarring Stephen Collins, Catherine Hicks, Jessica Biel and Beverley Mitchell, also remains the WB's highest-rated show, averaging 6.9 million viewers this season.

    Of course, many have cited the easy-on-the-eyes Watson as one reason the series remains so popular--especially among young girls. But even before Tuesday's announcement, Watson was planning to ditch the wholesome Aaron Spelling-produced series, which he's starred in since its debut in 1996.

    With his contract up this season, the Michigan-born actor turned his focus to film, recently starring in the goofball comedy Sorority Boys and scoring a cameo as himself in Ocean's Eleven. Watson, whose film credits include 1999's Teaching Mrs. Tingle, also stars in the upcoming thriller Shearer's Breakfast.

    7th Heaven producers were hoping to have Watson return for a handful of episodes next season, but no word on whether that will happen.

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