Shocking news as we find that Andy Whitfield, who played the title role in Spartacus: Blood and Sand, has died at age 39! He fought off non-Hodgkin lymphoma in early 2010, was announced “cancer-free” by his physicians in June 2010, having it lapse last September and then having resumed treatment. He lost the battle on Sunday in Sydney, Australia.
“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. “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.”
Andy Whitfield was born in Wales and moved to Australia in 1999. His previous credits include Australian TV shows “Packed to the Rafters,” “McLeod’s Daughters,” Gabriel and The Clinic paved the way to his role as the legendary Thracian slave in Spartacus. Whitfield appeared in all 13 episodes of the first season and was preparing to shoot the second season until he was diagnosed with cancer.
The network was hoping for Whitfield to recover and continue on for season 2 and produced a six-part prequel, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, in the mean time. It aired earlier this year with a brief voice-over from him, but as Whitfield’s condition grew worse, they announced that Australian actor Liam McIntyre would take over the role.
Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht had the following to say about Andy. “We are deeply saddened by the detriment of our dear crony and colleague, Andy Whitfield. We were advantageous to have worked with Andy in Spartacus and came to know that the male who played a champion on-screen was also a champion in his own life. Andy was an impulse to all of us as he faced this really personal conflict with courage, strength and grace. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this formidable time. He will live on in the hearts of his family, friends and fans.”
On Twitter, Spartacus creator Steven DeKnight said “No words to express the depth of such a loss. You will be deeply missed, my brother.”
From Entertainment Weekly, Whitfield’s Spartacus co-star Lucy Lawless also paid tribute to him: “Obviously, Andy Whitfield left an indelible mark on all of us in the Spartacus family. He was a gentle man who never said a bad word about anyone, a gifted photographer, engineer (no really!) and a brilliant actor. Andy’s incandescent film presence made men want to be him and women want to marry him. Andy’s two babies will always know that their Daddy cherished them and their mother, Vashti, above all things. How lucky we were to have him grace all our lives. Godspeed, Andy!”