Spartacus' Andy Whitfield Dies at 39: 'He Left an Indelible Mark on All of Us,' Says Co-Star

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Andy Whitfield, the original star of Starz’s Spartacus: Blood and Sand period drama, died on Sunday of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. The actor was 39, his manager tells TVLine.

“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,” Whitfield’s wife Vashti said in a statement cited by the Associated Press. “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.”

The Welsh-born Whitfield was first diagnosed with treatable Stage 1 non-Hodgkin lymphoma in early March of 2010. He was declared cancer-free two months later, after completing his original treatment therapy.

In July 2010, at the Spartacus panel at the San Diego Comic-Con (see photo above), Whitfield said, “I feel better than ever…. Like, seriously, I feel like I’m 10 years younger. I had a good rest.”

To accommodate the actor’s original unavailability, Starz halted production on the original Spartacus: Blood and Sand and fast-tracked a six-episode prequel series titled Spartacus: Gods of the Arena.

But come September 2010, Starz announced that Whitfield would not be returning for the original series’ second season after all, so that he could pursue “aggressive treatment” for a recurrence of his cancer.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague,” Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht says in a statement to our sister site Deadline.com. “[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.”

Spartacus‘ leading lady Lucy Lawless said 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.”

In January of this year, Aussie actor Liam McIntyre (HBO’s The Pacific) was chosen to assume the title role in what is now titled Spartacus: Vengeance — and with his predecessor’s OK. “Andy did call up the [producers] and said, ‘I do want the show to continue.’ He gave his blessing,” McIntyre shared at this summer’s San Diego Comic-Con. Filling Whitfield’s sandals, he added, was “a great privilege and a great honor.”



Comments (95)

  • This sucks so much. I hoped he would be able to beat his cancer. My prayers go out to his family.

    Comment by Anthony – September 11, 2011 06:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So sad that he passed away so young. RIP, Andy, you will be missed.

    Comment by Kat – September 11, 2011 06:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Very sad.

    Comment by lucy – September 11, 2011 06:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Such a shame. My condolences go to his family.

    Comment by Sue – September 11, 2011 06:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I hate cancer. RIP Andy.

    Comment by slizabeth – September 11, 2011 06:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • rest in peace andy. you will be missed

    Comment by murat – September 11, 2011 06:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Frack. RIP Andy. You will be missed

    Comment by ck – September 11, 2011 06:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I already paid my respects via twitter but I can’t help it =( I am strangely saddened by this. I never had the honor of meeting him, but through interviews and the comic-con ’10 panel I could tell he was an amazing guy who loved his family and loved his job and he was a great actor.

    May the Gods bless his family and give them the strength to carry on during this time. You will be deeply missed by both the people who knew you personally and those ever never had the privilege of meeting you. R.I.P. Andy Whitfield

    Comment by Dan – September 11, 2011 06:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree Dan I’m sitting here in tears at the loss of this great actor and person. May you rest in peace Andy!! May God bless your family & friends during this time,

      Comment by Debbi – September 11, 2011 07:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m still in shock.

    Such a talented actor, and clearly a wonderful person. Such a loss. My prayers go out to his family and friends.

    Rest in peace.

    Comment by Dan – September 11, 2011 06:46 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This really sucks. RIP Andy

    Comment by Nerwen Aldarion – September 11, 2011 06:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This breaks my heart. He was wonderful in the role of Spartacus. I was so disappointed to hear of the recurrence of his cancer, and that he would not be returning to the show. He will be deeply missed.

    Comment by Gia – September 11, 2011 06:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • this makes me very sad. RIP

    Comment by João Amaral – September 11, 2011 06:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am very saddened by this. :( And completely caught off-guard. I thought he was in remission and didn’t realize the cancer had come back. So sad.

    Comment by Amy – September 11, 2011 06:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • numerology for Andy Whitfield:

    http://edpetersonnumerology.com/2011/09/11/numerology-for-andy-whitfield/

    R.I.P.

    Comment by numerologist – September 11, 2011 06:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • RIP Andy

    I wasn’t aware he was sick so the news came as quite a surprise to me

    Prayers for his wife and children

    Comment by Lee – September 11, 2011 06:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • We’re so conditioned to think of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as survivable. This is a shock. I’m 49, and one of the worst things about getting older is witnessing other people dying before their time.

    Comment by TV Gord – September 11, 2011 06:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My heart goes out to his wife and children.

    Comment by Lisa – September 11, 2011 06:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • :( what a day.

    Comment by frosty – September 11, 2011 07:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Was so sad to hear this news. I hadn’t heard anything so I thought that he was getting better. RIP Andy, you will be missed. 8-(

    Comment by Maria – September 11, 2011 07:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • awful! I’m so sad about this news.
    Rest in Peace to him, and thoughts & prayers to his family and friends.

    Comment by Kyle – September 11, 2011 07:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! This is awful. I was hoping he’d recover and reclaim the role of Spartacus next season.

    Sad, sad news. :-(

    I will never be able to watch Season One again.

    Comment by Sivat – September 11, 2011 07:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So sad. He was a great talent, was looking forward to see what he would do after Spartacus. R.I.P Andy. You’ll be missed.

    Comment by Corey – September 11, 2011 07:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Almost don’t want to watch the new Spartacus. But I have to because Andy made the show riveting.

    RIP Andy

    Comment by Irv – September 11, 2011 07:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I don’t think I will watch it. I was hoping we’d only have to deal with a replacement actor for one season.

      Comment by Sivat – September 11, 2011 07:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Andy Whitfield wanted Spartacus to CONTINUE. So because there is a replacement you won’t watch. Way to go. One would think you would do the opposite.

        Comment by Tania – September 12, 2011 11:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I thought he was getting better. This blows; I’m so sorry Andy; thoughts to his wife and children. This day has some serious bad juju.

    Comment by Kevin H. – September 11, 2011 07:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So looked forward to him fighting this back and seeing more of what he had to offer.

    Thoughts and prayers to his family.

    R.I.P. Andy

    Comment by Tucker – September 11, 2011 07:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Very saddened by this. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

    Comment by aleksa – September 11, 2011 07:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I loved him on the show. Seemed like an awesome guy. RIP Andy, and my thoughts and heart go out to your family and friends.

    Comment by Emily – September 11, 2011 07:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wow. This is so sad. :(

    He was so young, gorgeous and talented. It’s hard to believe that he’s gone. Rest in Peace Andy. My thoughts and prayers to Andy’s family.

    Comment by maggie – September 11, 2011 07:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Our condolences to the family. Andy was and will continue to be a truly inspirational force through his acting and the legacy of his great work with Spartacus. I had the honor of being at the Comic Con panel that he was at 2 years ago. Thank you, Andy for being an inspiration to this artist.

    Comment by Ramon Ramirez – September 11, 2011 07:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This is so sad, he was so young and had such a wonderful family. My thoughts and prays are with his family and friends. RIP Andy you will be missed!

    Comment by Mary – September 11, 2011 08:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Gone far too young. Cancer sucks. Peace be with andy’s family and friends.

    Comment by Kb – September 11, 2011 08:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This is, indeed, a shame. Spartacus put him on the cusp of stardom, but he’d already established himself as someone to watch in a madly brilliant little dark fantasy film called ‘Gabriel.’ Shot for less than the cost of most houses, these days, it was an intense piece that had him playing the title role, an archangel who was trying to return light to purgatory and save the souls of those dwelt there.

    I would urge every fan of Andy’s from Spartacus to find and watch this small gem of a movie.

    Andy, you died way too soon. Rest in peace, brother.

    Comment by Sheldon W. – September 11, 2011 08:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wow. I am so sad to hear this news. I had no idea his condition got worse.

    He was amazing as Spartacus. Thought he was truly talented & couldn’t wait to see more from him once he got well. Upset that didn’t happen. My heart goes out to his family.

    RIP Andy Whitfield. I will miss you.

    Comment by Elizabeth – September 11, 2011 08:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Cancer, you are a motherf*****. Condolances to his family. He will be missed.

    Comment by Simon Jester – September 11, 2011 08:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Your first sentence. I’ll second that!

      Comment by TV Gord – September 11, 2011 10:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I can’t believe this!! I have him tattooed on my right shoulder since I became a fan after the movie “Gabriel”. You will be missed Andy!!!:( Vashti, I will keep you in my prayers, please let me know where he will be buried so I can visit him:(

    Comment by Josiah – September 11, 2011 09:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am greatly saddened by this news. He was such an amazing actor. He will be missed. My prayers go out to his wife and family. May they find comfort in knowing that he will no suffer no more. God speed Andy.

    Comment by shannon – September 11, 2011 09:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • RIP Andy

    Comment by Cherry – September 11, 2011 09:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I was watching the whole first season till like about 2 and 1/2 hours ago. Then read this news. Shocked, saddened. Now its haunting. RIP Andy. :(

    Comment by manu – September 11, 2011 10:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I was just talking about him a few days ago hoping his treatment would be succesful. Such a great loss. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones. Gosh I can’t stop crying.

    Comment by leelabee – September 11, 2011 10:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Farewell Andy, you were a true warrior. RIP

    Comment by David – September 11, 2011 10:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sorry to hear about this. Awful, awful day.

    Comment by Kate – September 11, 2011 11:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Really saddened by this and shocked. He was truly talented. I normally would not go for a show like Spartacus, but he made it riveting. My prayers go out to his family. RIP Andy.

    Comment by Christina – September 11, 2011 11:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • RIP Andy, and sincere condolences to friends and family..

    Comment by Vanny – September 11, 2011 11:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family of young actor.RIP

    Comment by Kamatchi Jeyaraj – September 11, 2011 11:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It will take a centuary to see his type again. God should give the family the fortitude to bear the loss.

    Comment by bashir. – September 12, 2011 12:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • His eyes percieved the beautiful soul he had……this was his journey this life time….may he rest in peace till his next path on this earth…he will not be forgotten

    Comment by morgan – September 12, 2011 01:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Andy you were such a great actor!I didn’t get the news until this afternoon on CNN. I immediately went to my computer to see the indepth news and comments. I lost my husband 2 years ago and he was an officer,AirborneRanger and Vietnam combat warrior.He would have loved this show and again i feel the lost his wife must feel at this time.You will truly be missed by all of your Spartacus fans.I have the tape. I watched the 1st 3 segments on Staz last night not knowing you were gone.Thanks to the PRODUCERS for allowing us to see one of the truly great actors of all time Andy Whitfield,Spartacus Blood and Sand!

      Comment by lois – September 12, 2011 02:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So so sad . . . . :(

    Comment by angelstorm – September 12, 2011 03:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • my mother died of the same disease. next saturday it will be 9 years. it was the most aweful thing i had to experience as a little girl, seing my mother suffer and pass away in a period of 5 months. it’s horrible and i hope andy is at a better place, without the pain and the sickening therapy. rest in peace.

    Comment by donna – September 12, 2011 04:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Gutted i feel sick for not knowing such a great guy was ill rip andy you will be missed

    Comment by mark – September 12, 2011 04:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • What a great actor he was. I had visions of him getting top movies. A sad loss to his family and to his followers. He will be an inspiration to many. RIP

    Comment by Nick Jones – September 12, 2011 04:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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