Actor Andy Whitfield has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 39. The Welsh-born actor is best known for his lead role in Spartacus: Blood and Sand.
The actor was battling with a recurrence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and died Sunday, Sept. 11th. Wife Vashti said in a statement to the Associated Press that the "beautiful young warrior" died on a "sunny Sydney morning in the "arms of his loving wife."
Starz CEO Chris Albrecht released a statement on the death of Whitfield, saying: "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 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."
Whitfield was diagnosed with the disease while he was preparing for season two and the producers halted production on the show to give him time to recover. It looked like he had beaten the cancer and he was given clearance to resume shooting the show – when he sadly relapsed, forcing him to drop out of the show. Liam McIntyre was cast in the lead role of Spartacus for the second season, with Whitfield's blessing.
His Spartacus co-star, Lucy Lawless, made a heartfelt statement to EW, saying:
"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!"
Rest in peace, Andy Whitfield.
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