Very sad news to report today, as we have found out that Andy Whitfield, the star of Spartacus: Blood and Sand has died from non-Hodgkin Lymphoma at the age of 39.
His wife, Vashti, issued the following 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.”
Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma after the 1st season of the Starz tv show Spartacus, initially causing a delay in production on Season two – during which the prequel, Gods of the Arena, was filmed. During this time, Whitfield had reacted well to treatment and his cancer had entered remission. It was anticipated that he would return for the second season, Spartacus: Vengeance, and he even promoted the series at San Diego Comic-Con in 2010.
Regrettably, not long after Comic-Con came the word that his cancer had returned, and he was forced to drop out of the series completely. He was replaced in Spartacus: Vengeance – which is debuting in 2012 — by Liam McIntyre.
Starz, theTV network behind Spartacus, 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.”