Spartacus TV actor Andy Whitfield dies at 39


Andy Whitfield, the British star of US TV drama Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

Andy Whitfield, the British star of US TV drama Spartacus: Blood and Sand, has died at the age of 39.

Whitfield died on Sunday in Sydney, Australia, 18 months after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, his family and manager said.

His wife, Vashti, described him as "our beautiful young warrior".

Whitfield was born in North Wales and moved to Australia in 1999. Actor Liam McIntyre took over Whitfield's role in the TV series when he became ill.

"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," his wife said in a statement.

'Courage and strength'

"He passed peacefully surrounded by love. Thank you to all his fans whose love and support have helped carry him to this point. He will be remembered as the inspiring, courageous and gentle man, father and husband he was."

Chris Albrecht, president and chief operating officer of US TV network Starz, said he was "deeply saddened" by Whitfield's loss.

"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," Albrecht said in a statement.

"Andy was an inspiration to all of us as he faced this very personal battle with courage, strength and grace," he added.

Whitfield played the title role in all 13 episodes of the first series, screened in 2010, and was about to shoot the second series when he was diagnosed with cancer.

Spartacus, which attracted media attention in the US for its graphic scenes of sex and violence, was first seen in the UK on the now defunct Bravo channel before moving to Sky One.

In an interview with the Deadline Hollywood website last year, Whitfield said having cancer had taught him some important lessons.

"After the initial shock - I was a healthy young man and had no idea this could happen - it was frustrating that the first season was ending on such a high note."

But he added he then found "time to heal, figure things out and spend time with my family. Stay in the now and enjoy every moment."

Whitfield's Spartacus co-star Lucy Lawless also paid tribute to the actor in a statement to EW:

"Andy Whitfield left an indelible mark on all of us in the Spartacus family," she said. "He was a gentle man who never said a bad word about anyone, a gifted photographer, engineer (no really!) and a brilliant actor.

"How lucky we were to have him grace all our lives. Godspeed, Andy!"


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    Comment number 78.

    I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Andy Whitfield. I can only imagine how deeply his loss is felt to his family. He was an exceptional talent and surely destined for a wonderful acting career. I loved his poetrayal of Spartacus, he lit up the screen each time he appeared. I have recently been diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma, and am undergoing treatment at the moment.RIP. Andy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    As I woke up and saw the news it hit me, even the most athletic and healthy man can be killed by this little disease.. We need to start cherishing the things we have. Andy was a great actor and Spartacus won't be the same without him that's for sure.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins in 2007;That was not a good year for me,as I also had kidney stones and then broke a leg;I also lost my father,who died following a major operation.
    And yet I count myself lucky;I survived surgery,chemo- and radiotherapy and have seen my sons sit exams,start university courses and generally just grow up.Andy's death is a reminder of what could have happened.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    As the first series of Spartacus showed, the world can be very cruel, and often it's the nicest people who suffer. The comments on this page show that many people hoped Andy would make a full recovery and return to acting, a profession he clearly showed great talent for. Sadly, even the greatest of warriors cannot win every battle. My deepest sympathies go to his young family.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    Tragic loss of a fabulous talent. Spartacus really was one of the best shows around thanks to Andy and his fellow artists. It's so sad that we won't get to see him work again. Condolences to his family and friends - he will be missed. Rest in peace, Andy.


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