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August 31, 2014

'Spartacus' Star Andy Whitfield Has Died at 39

by Maureen Ryan, posted Sep 11th 2011 10:25PM

Andy Whitfield, who played the title role in the first season of Starz's 'Spartacus,' passed away Sunday. The actor was 39.

"No words to express the depth of such a loss," 'Spartacus' creator Steven DeKnight said Sunday evening on Twitter. "You will be deeply missed, my brother."

According to a statement released to the AP by Whitfield's family, he died at home," on a sunny Sydney morning, in the "arms of his loving wife." His wife Vashti called him a "beautiful young warrior."

"He passed peacefully surrounded by love," said the statement from Vashti Whitfield. "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 about 18 months ago, and had been battling the disease since then. He had hoped to return to 'Spartacus' for the show's second season, but a recurrence of his illness prevented that.

Eventually he had to leave the role entirely, and, after Starz made the prequel series 'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena' (in which Spartacus did not appear), Australian actor Liam McIntyre was eventually cast in the lead role of the next season of the show, 'Spartacus: Vengeance.'

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Andy Whitfield," Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht said in a statement posted on the show's Facebook page Sunday. "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."

"Andy, you will be missed and forever in our hearts," 'Spartacus' writer Maurissa Tancharoen tweeted Sunday. "The news we hoped we'd never hear," added director Michael Hurst. "So much sadness. RIP."

Update: Co-star Lucy Lawless has released a statement to EW. It read, in part: "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."

At Comic-Con in 2010, Whitfield had just been through a treatment regime and he thought he'd still be returning to the show. He got a hero's welcome from fans, who had vociferously expressed their support for him since the news of his illness broke earlier that year. Their vocal support on web sites and in San Diego came as no surprise: Whitfield had grown as an actor before our eyes in that first season. His Spartacus was a compelling and charismatic man, one who grew more complex and driven as the season wore on.

I was lucky enough to sit down for a one-on-one interview with Whitfield at that Comic-Con, and he struck me as a thoughtful man, one who was serene, engaging and positive, despite all he'd been through. He had that typical Australian mischievous sense of humor, but there was a serious energy about him as well. He talked about feeling "a fearlessness I never had before." I had very much hoped to see him return to the work he loved and share all those qualities with us once again. Today's news is very sad indeed.

I'm sure I speak for all 'Spartacus' fans when I say that our hearts go out to his family and friends.

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theckst

Correction for article title: Andy Whitifeld was born in 1974 and was therefore 37 when he died, not 39.

September 13 2011 at 2:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wllmsbry

An amazing talent. Mr. Whitfield you will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Whitfield's family and friends.

September 13 2011 at 1:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Garrett L

What a tragic loss. A magnificent man and monumental talent. God bless his family and may he rest in peace.

September 12 2011 at 11:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Di

My heart goes out to Andy's family and friends. I have been battling Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, also. I loved 'Spartacus' and this amazing actor and was rooting and praying for him since he was diagnosed. We have lost a wonderful actor and loving family man. My sincere condolences to all of his family and friends for their terrible loss.

Diane G.

September 12 2011 at 7:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nicole7279

Andy W. is how I got hooked to Spartcus. I could see that he was a great and rare talent.
God only takes the best. A worrior on film and in life. I prayed for you during your treatment and now I pray that you rest in peace and that your family will be granted the strength to make it throught this most trying time.
RIP your battle is over.

September 12 2011 at 4:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
charpist5

I have never heard of the series, but my condolences to his wife and family. This is really, really sad.

September 12 2011 at 3:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rgsnaz

I never watched the series because I don't have Prime Cable channels. But this is so sad. So young. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and all who knew him... Rest in Peace dear warrior...

September 12 2011 at 2:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sifuchuck

I would have renewed my subscription to Starz if he had come back as Sparticus. He brought the role to life. I am just some stranger who saw him in the series... but I feel like I lost a member of my family.

September 12 2011 at 2:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cife

R.I.P to a true talent!!! That first season is what got me hooked to the show initially!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FI960IRCD0A

September 12 2011 at 2:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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September 12 2011 at 2:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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