Andy Whitfield, who played the title role in the hit cable series “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” has died at age 39, after an 18 month battle with lymphoma cancer. Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Prior to becoming a worldwide star from his success on Spartacus, he held roles in the Australian showsÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â “Packed to the Rafters” and “McLeod’s Daughters.”
According to his manager Sam Maydew,Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Whitfield died Sunday in Sydney, Australia.
Whitfield told the Associated Press:
“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,” Whitfield’s wife Vashti said in a statement. “He passed peacefully surrounded by love. Thank you to all his fans whose love and support have help carry him to this point. He will be remembered as the inspiring, courageous and gentle man, father and husband he was.”
Whitfield appeared in all of the first season, and was prepping to shoot season two when he received the diagnosis.
According to AP: Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â While waiting for Whitfield’s treatment and expected recovery, the network produced a six-part prequel, “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena,” that aired earlier this year with only a brief voiceover from the actor.
In January, Whitfield’s condition worsened, and actor Liam McIntyre took over the role.
President and CEO of the Starz network Andy Whitfield said in a statement:
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Andy Whitfield,” Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht said in a statement Sunday night. “We were fortunate to have worked with Andy in ‘Spartacus’ and came to know that the man who played a champion on-screen was also a champion in his own life.”