Andy Whitfield of Spartacus lives on 9 months after death
We knew Andy Whitfield as the warrior Spartacus on the small screen, but the fight of his life is documented in a new film, Be Here Now.
Filmmakers followed Spartacus: Blood and Sand star Andy Whitfield for more than a year, until shortly before he lost his battle to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma last September.
He was 39.
The documentary opens both an inspiring and gut-wrenching window into the father of two's journey to treat the aggressive blood cancer.
Whitfield and his wife, Vashti, traveled to India to explore alternative cures -- in addition to undergoing traditional treatments.
The Welsh-Aussie star was accustomed to 12- to 14-hour workdays on set. But People reports that he knew something was wrong after ending the first season of the Starz show that made him a global hit. He felt completely wiped out, with an aching back.
In spring 2010, doctors found the then-38-year-old had Stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Outwardly the picture of health, Whitfield began chemo and was soon healthy enough to go back for the second season of Spartacus.
Then the cancer returned -- with a vengeance.
Whitfield was told he had three to six months to live. It was at this point that the young couple invited filmmakers to shadow what would be Whitfield's final months.
Be Here Now
The film is being funded, in part, through readers like you. You can access a snippet of the documentary and make donations online at this Kickstarter campaign.
On the morning of Wednesday, June 27, the campaign had raised more than $220,000 -- overshooting its initial goal of $200,000.
The campaign is accepting pledges until July 23. The money will go to edit the movie and submit it into film festivals.
Academy Award-nominated director Lilibet Foster also enlisted the help of Whitfield's friend and Spartacus co-star, Jai Courtney, who appears at the start of the video snippet on Kickstarter.
In the video, Courtney speaks a little to his close friendship with Whitfield, and also encourages viewers' generosity to not only help finish the film, but to "shed light" on possible cures for cancer.
Be Here Now is a fitting title and legacy. It's about being in the present -- not getting too caught up in an unknown future.
And it will live on many, many years now that Whitfield is gone.