‘Spartucus’ Star Dead at 39

As star of“ Spartucus: Blood and Sand,” he easily vanquished squadrons of foes.

But actor Andy Whitfield could not in the end win the battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He died Sunday at his home in Sydney, Australia. He was 39.

His wife Vashti Whitfield describe it this way in a statement: “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 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.”

“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.  “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.  Andy was an inspiration to all of us as he faced this very personal battle with courage, strength and grace.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.  He will live on in the hearts of his family, friends and fans.”

When Whitfield fell ill after the first season of “Spartucus,” Starz bided its time with a prequel. “Spartucus: Gods of the Arena.”

In January, Starz announced its replacement Spartucus, Liam McIntyre for what will be in essence the third season “Spartucus: Vengance,” set to start in January.

“It’s a role you wish was never there,” McIntyre said of the part this summer. “It is a tough act to follow, but I’ve got an obligation to the fans, to the show, and to Andy’s season one legacy to deliver on that.”

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