Spartacus Star Andy Whitfield DiesSeptember 12, 2011
I’m deeply saddened to report that Andy Whitfield, star of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, has died. He was only 39 years old.
Whitfield passed away after his long battle with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma on Sunday. The Associated Press reported that his wife, Vashti, issued a statement which reads, “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.”
Andy Whitfield was diagnosed with the disease just after filming the first season of Spartacus, after which Starz decided to do the prequel season Spartacus: Gods of the Arena until he got better. During that time, Andy was treated and his cancer went into remission, and he was expected to return for the second season of Spartacus. He was even seen promoting the series at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con.
Unfortunately, shortly after Comic-Con news about the return of his cancer surfaced. He was then forced to drop out of the show for good, and was replaced by actor Liam McIntyre, who will play Spartacus in next year’s Spartacus: Vengeance.
Stars released the following statement:
“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.”
Spartacus creator/ executive producer Steven DeKnight wrote on Twitter, “No words to express the depth of such a loss. You will be deeply missed, my brother.”
While speaking to the press about taking on the role of Spartacus this summer, McIntyre had nothing but praise for Whitfield, stating, “He’s gotten in contact with me. I mean, just think, this guy had a dream gig and then he’s met with this tragic circumstance and he still has the strength of character to call me and wish me good luck and give me tips on how to get through the grueling schedule.”