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)

  • Rest in peace Andy. Your presence in this world will be missed!
    My deepest condolences to his family and most close friends.

    Comment by Leopoldo Lopes – September 12, 2011 04:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My heart hurts. :-(

    Comment by LDSK – September 12, 2011 04:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m so sorry to hear this – I was looking forward to Andy’s continued screen successes as he was so good in Spartacus. He accomplished much and was loved & admired in his short life – the best in having a loving family. My thoughts & prayers go out to them.

    Comment by Jen – September 12, 2011 07:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This is so sad. My heart goes out to his family.

    Comment by Amy – September 12, 2011 07:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Just tragic. Don’t know if I can watch the new show, but I really respect the fact that the showrunners filmed the entire prequel season, hanging on in the hopes Andy would get better, before doing a recast. A lot of people in Hollywood wouldn’t be that good about it.

    Comment by Amy – September 12, 2011 07:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My prayers go out to his family, such sad news on a very sad day. I too believed that he’d be back to claim his role. Seems like a bad dream.

    Comment by Plum – September 12, 2011 07:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This. Really. BLOWS. Why did he have to die? Why?? He was such a good actor and it sucks that he couldn’t beat his cancer. This really hurt my heart today and I’m not even really a huge fan but I watched like only two episodes of Spartacus and he was MAGNETIC. You just kept your eyes on him and he drew you in. Such a talent. He will be missed. A great loss to the entertainment world. I send my prayers to his family.

    Comment by TayMads – September 12, 2011 07:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • May he rest in peace. :(

    Comment by Brandon – September 12, 2011 07:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I adored him in The Terminator and he was amazing as Spartacus. A huge loss. My prayers go out to his family and friends.

    Comment by alverta – September 12, 2011 08:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sit Tibi Terra Levis

    Long Live Spartacus and Whitfield!!

    Comment by Aioria – September 12, 2011 09:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think it’s a testament to Andy that after one season on this show he amassed this kind of fan base. Honestly I was just tuning into the Spartacus pilot to write about it for a publicist friend who was doing blog outreach. I never expected I would get into the show so much. Another testament to Andy, he really brought it.

    I’m surprisingly affected by this, a death of someone I didn’t even know.

    Comment by Joe B. – September 12, 2011 09:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I never watched Spartacus since I don’t have Starz, but I remember seeing him in ads. I’m still saddened by his death. He was so young and talented and it’s horrible that this cancer took away his life. RIP.

    Comment by Patty – September 12, 2011 10:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I don’t always get upset about Hollywood deaths, but this one does make me sad. Death isn’t an end, it’s the beginning of something new. So while it’s sad to think that his life ended just as he was becoming more well known and while we would have liked to have seen more of his work on screen, I hope that he’s at peace now.
    I feel for his family. Especially for his children who had too little time with their father.

    Comment by Drew – September 12, 2011 10:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Andy portrayed a beautiful and courageous warrior from Thrace on our TV’s and sadly with his passing it will rain no longer over Capua. I’m sure that he was as amazing as a husband and father and his loss will be felt keenly. RIP Andy Whitfield. Condolences and prayers to you family and friends x

    Comment by Nicole – September 12, 2011 10:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This is heartbreaking news. We only saw him in one television show and he had us as fans from go. Whatever “it” is, Andy Whitfield had it all. This was such a close cast/crew my thoughts go out to them and especially his family in this tough time. It should have read Emmy winner Andy Whitfield but unfortunately the blind Emmy nominating committee didn’t even put him on the ballot last year. RIP Andy, you’ll be missed.

    Comment by bhm1304 – September 12, 2011 11:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • An awesome talent cut short. Damn cancer!

    My friend died last week after battling breast cancer for 2 years (it got in her bones).

    He died so quickly.

    When will we ever defeat this thief of life and vitality?!?!

    Comment by Ron – September 12, 2011 12:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Oh no =(

    Comment by pria – September 12, 2011 12:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think yoga re confusing non-Hodgkins lymphoma with Hodgkins disease. Non-Hodgkins has only a 63% chance of survival past five years a best and only a 51% chance of survival past 10 years. There are people who beat these odds and we were all hoping that Andy would be one of them. Hodgkins disease has at best case cure rate of 95% and at worst case scenario of 80%. Vastly different that non-Hodgekins.

    I feel for Andy’s family and friends.

    Comment by rowan – September 12, 2011 12:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Omg, i am so shocked. Wow Rip andy. You captivated many. I am so sorry

    Comment by Brandon McNair – September 12, 2011 01:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Absolutely gutted such a sad loss and so young. All our love to the family, RIP Andy sleep well xx

    Comment by John – September 12, 2011 01:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My prayers go out to his family I loved him and sad to hear the news

    Comment by angel – September 12, 2011 01:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • was in shock… he’s gone too soon! may the Almighty give the family strength to carry on. RIP my Hero!!!

    Comment by arinze – September 12, 2011 03:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I can`t stop crying…This is an unbelievable shock.Honestly thought he`d be ok. Such a talented,gorgeous guy.I couldn’t wait for each week to pass to watch the next episode of Spartacus.He was mesmerizing…I’ve seen many adaptation of Spartacus over the years,but for me(and I suspect for many others) his will forever be the best. RIP
    Andy…you were taken too soon. My thoughts & prayers to your dear family and friends xx

    Comment by Alikat – September 12, 2011 03:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am Very sad about this, Andy obviously touched me and many others through his great performance on Spartacus and his fight with cancer. RIP Andy!

    Comment by Tony – September 12, 2011 05:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Andy you made a difference in the film world………… SPARTACUS could never be the same

    Comment by Shondell – September 12, 2011 06:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Amazing actor and an amazing man. He will be missed.

    Comment by Jamie – September 12, 2011 08:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • siento mucho la muerte de Andy actuaba buenisimo en las película
    tu fans numero 1 siempre estaras nuestro corazones toda tu fans siempre te vamos recordar como tu eres guerrero héroes y ballata que lucho por su familia esposa hijo hermanos y amigos amigas

    Comment by catherin – September 13, 2011 07:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • GUTTED for Andy and his family and friends. Far to good a man to die so young. RIP!

    Comment by Tom – September 13, 2011 08:59 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • RIP andy , you left us with a memory we will all cherish, a truely outstanding performance, you made Spartacus into the fantastic show it was. I feel sorry the actor replacing you he has very big boots to fill! I cannot wait for the new series but there will be a great sense of loss knowing you were unable to continue the role…..

    Comment by Matthew Bogart – September 13, 2011 10:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thanx for inspiring me Andy.

    You where truly a Spartacus.

    R.I.P.

    Comment by CHANCE PHOENIX – September 13, 2011 01:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • When I found out about Andy, it hit me like if it was a family member. Is so sad to see anybody losing a battle with cancer but when is somebody with so much talent and future is a reminder that we are here for just a such short period of time! RIP Andy.

    Comment by J alberti – September 13, 2011 02:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • tears,tears….why,..did death come at this time.Such a talented actor.Condolences to the family.

    Comment by charles – September 13, 2011 03:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love the show. Hate to hear this because I was waiting for him to come back to it. MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND PEACE AND BLESSING TO YOUR FAMILY FROM A FAN IN USA.

    Comment by kanocka – September 13, 2011 05:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am shocked, as I thought he was pulling through. Have struggled with cancer when I was young and survived. I had the privilege of watching Andy act, whilst I was next to him as an extra on Spartacus Blood and Sand. He was a gifted young actor. May you now be in peace without pain now. My condolences to his family and friends. J.C said “I will not leave you comfortless” John 14:18

    Comment by Roger Twinn – September 14, 2011 03:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My sincere condolescence goes to the Beloved Family and all the sincere friends.

    Comment by isaac m – September 15, 2011 03:21 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • We prayed for Andy to get better. It wasn’t meant to be. We accept that. He had already made his mark. In his life and in others. Thank you, Andy.

    Comment by Lynne Russell – October 7, 2011 04:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i am sorryhate the cancer Andy Whitfield ilovew

    Comment by biruk kassa – March 5, 2014 07:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i am sorryhate the cancer Andy Whitfield ilovew. All family immesd you

    Comment by biruk kassa – March 5, 2014 07:21 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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