Spartacus: Blood and Sand star Andy Whitfield died Sunday in Sydney, Australia at 39, a year-and-a-half after he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
“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,” the actor’s wife Vashti said in a statement. “He passed peacefully surrounded by love.
Wales-born Whitfield, who also modeled, played the lead role in 13 episodes of the 2010 Starz network hit, and was slated for a second season before he fell ill. Australian actor Liam McIntyre replaced him on the series.
Following the news of his passing, tributes from colleagues poured in for the well-remembered actor.
Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht said in a statement Sunday: “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.”
Co-star Lucy Lawless told EW, “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,” she told the magazine. ”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.