Damian Lewis described his time on Billions as “a pleasure and a privilege” as he bowed out of the popular TV series after five seasons.

The British actor, 50, played hedge fund wizard Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, but fans watching the most recent episode on Sunday saw the character leaving New York to escape legal woes.

Lewis’s departure from the series comes after his wife Helen McCrory, the acclaimed actress, died in April aged 52 following a battle with cancer.

Following the broadcast of his final Billions episode, award-winning star Lewis shared a statement on Twitter thanking the show’s co-creators and crew.

He said: “A pleasure and a privilege to play Axe for 5 seasons with some of the smartest, funniest most talented cast and crew I’ve worked with. I’ll miss the Billions family. Yep, some jobs are more than just a job…. Love.”

Billions will return for a sixth season in January, with Axe gone – but Lewis has left the door open for a comeback.

“There’s an opportunity maybe for me to return,” he told the New York Times. “But for now, broadly speaking, Axe has been vanquished.”

Billions co-creator Brian Koppelman praised Lewis on Twitter.

He said: “What an incredible joy to spend five years working so closely with the great @lewis_damian!

“@DavidLevien and I are beyond grateful to you, Damian, for the work, of course, and the fellowship, and for all you sacrificed to come do this with us.”

Lewis and McCrory have two children together.

McCrory, an actress known for her work on stage and screen, including playing Narcissa Malfoy in the final three Harry Potter films, died at home in London in April.

Lewis, her husband of 14 years, announced the news on Twitter and paid tribute to his “beautiful and mighty” wife.