Andy Whitfield, star of STARZ original series, “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” has passed away at the age of 39.
Born in Wales and a resident of Australia, the actor had been battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma disease for the past 18 months and passed away on Sunday.
In September of 2010 he announced that he would not be returning to the show so her could undergo aggressive cancer treatment.
His wife, Vashti, released a statement that the actor died on a “sunny Sydney morning” in the “arms of his loving wife.”
The announcement was released yesterday and stated, “On a beautiful sunny Sydney spring morning, surrounded by his family, in the arms of his loving wife, our beautiful young warrior Andy Whitfield lost his 18 month battle with lymphoma cancer.”
“He passes peacefully surrounded by love. Thank you to all his fans whose love and support have helped carry him to this point. He will be remembered as the inspiring, courageous and gentle man, father and husband he was."
Chris Albrecht, president and CEO of the TV network Starz who produced his show has said, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Andy Whitfield. We were fortunate to have worked with Andy in ‘Spartacus’ and came to know the man who played a champion on-screen was also a champion in his own life.”
“Andy was an inspiration to all of us as he faced this very personal battle with courage, strength and grace.”
Whitfield was planning to shoot the second season of the show when he was diagnosed with the disease, so they show waited on his expected recovery and made the six-part prequel, “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena” in which Andy had a small voiceover role.
He was initially declared cancer-free, but sadly he suffered a relapse later in the year and the show replaced Andy’s role by actor Liam McIntyre to which Whitfield responded, “It seems that it is time for myself and my family to embark on another extraordinary journey.”
This was a huge breakthrough role for Whitfield. When Andy Whitfield was cast in the titular role on the Starz series, he was basically an unknown Australia actor. The role of the Thracian slave in “Spartacus” was made famous by Kirk Douglas in the 1960 Stanley Kubrick film that inspired the TV series.