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Spartacus: Star Andy Whitfield Dies at Age 39

Spartacus Andy Whitfield diesHis Spartacus alter-ego may have seemed invincible but the man who played him was not. Despite a valiant fight against cancer, actor Andy Whitfield has passed away at the age of 39.

His wife Vashti said in a statement, “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 got his big break when he was cast in the lead role in Starz Spartacus: Blood and Sand series. During a routine physical prior to shooting season two of the show, he was diagnosed with Stage one non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Production was put on hold temporarily while he was treated. He went into remission and was just days away from starting to film season two when the cancer came back. Whitfield remained positive about his prospects.

The fate of Spartacus was up in the air but, in light of Whitfield’s new diagnosis, Starz ultimately chose to recast the role and continue on without him.

In a statement, Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht said. “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 Steven DeKnight tweeted, “No words to express the depth of such a loss. You will be deeply missed, my brother.”

In a statement, Whitfield co-star Lucy Lawless said, “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.”

What do you think? Will you miss Andy Whitfield? What will you remember most about his work?

 

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Nick Ramesh May 11, 2012 at 8:23 am

I had no idea about the passing of Andy Whitfield (spelling?..sorry)..when Liam was casted as Spartacus. I am a big time movie-buff and would like to consider myself (wish I could professionally) be a good critic. I was beyond grief, when I found out online that he passed of cancer. He created such an amazing character, show, and was so strong in so many ways (who’d a thought–the poor guy was battling cancer along battling on the show–he was in GREAT physical fitness). At first, when I watched Liam; I was very saddenned; as NO ONE could replace all the criteria/convincing acting that Mr. Whitfield did. I first saw him in ‘GABRIEL’ , which was an amazing movie. I know he would of been (if his choice) in bigger movies and roles. As I watched the ‘new’ season I was at first disappointed–no one can replace him…it is about the character–not the person–but I think Starz (whoever) did an amazing job with the pre-quel with Gannicus and making Crixus look like he really was in that series before his champion status in the first season. But by the last episode, I was convinced by Andy’s replacement; Liam . There could not have been a better replacement (shouldn’t say/write that word, sorry). I have never been so emotionally moved when they brought down the arena and the final revenge in the last episode. I wish Andy was still alive–for his and his family’s sake–but he’s in a better place. I am pleased to read about the manner in which he passed–as it was in God’s time. I can name the year of almost every movie/big show ever made. I would love to see another series of ‘Spartacus’. It is very disappointing to see an end. ( I have a life I promise–lol) But..I have never been more emotionally saddened, moved, and excited by a tv series in my whole life till Spartacus. I really love the actor who played ‘Gannicus’ as well. I am certain he will be seen in future cinema if he so desires. God Bless Andy & his family. God Bless all those that made ‘Spartacus’ possible. God Bless us all… I could write a novel of a commentary—I never have made a comment like this, online, ever before. (That/this is how much Whitfield and the series meant/means to me.) I am too lazy to proof-read my comment so I apologize for any errors and meant to negativity to Liam–he turned out to be the best replacement –not ‘replacement’–the new ‘Spartacus’–he had big shoes to fill–and it is not his fault that Andy was almost twice his size-lol (I have no room to talk-lol)…im not talking..im typing. :D Come back ‘Spartacus’–I’ll help direct (whatever) if need be…lol

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Maria D. January 27, 2012 at 9:38 pm

I definitely will miss Andy, he was the epitome of Spartacus. My husband and I felt very sad at His passing We just watched Episode 1 of the 2nd season and enjoyed it. Liam is a good replacement but we both miss Andy! He had the most beautiful expressive eyes.

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Mary Ann Havlock January 24, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Oh Sweet Family of Andy, I prayed so hard for his recovery. But I guess God knows that even before we were thought of, what our life would be and end. I lost a son at 42 years of age, 11 years ago. My comfort is that God was ready for my son as He was for Andy. He was wonderful as Spartacus. I’m so happy that he had all of his loved ones around him.
The Angels held Andy in their arms and God said, Come my son.”
God bless you and yours, Mary Ann Havlock

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Pamela Cosner September 29, 2011 at 4:30 pm

I first saw him Gabriel and love the work of that movie. a great cast. my husband showed me the show he was working on last. and I enjoyed it. I was so shocked one so young would go so quickly. may God give him great role in heaven future. he do a great arch angel where I love that independant film. sorta feel cheated wish we had more of his work in other roles. he would of be a great one. I am sure of that.

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Anonymous September 18, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Rest In Peace, Andy Whitefield. Spartacus was an awesome show. No one did a better job than Andy. Although I have an Idea, To remember him by and to continue the Spartacus Show, I don’t think he would want it canceled. Replacing Andy would be terrible, but i really do not want to see the show canceled, Maybe you could have Charlie Hunnam Try out for the role. Darken his Hair, Make him work out and you have a Spartacus. I will agree it wont be the same without Andy, And i am very sad he passed away. He was An Awesome Actor. But Try Charlie Hunnam Out. Go for another season, if it works out then let Charlie Pick up where Andy left off. And make sure you do it in remembrance Of Andy.

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Kamcho September 16, 2011 at 9:06 am

Simply devastated…..I am big fan of all histtorycal stuf- therefore, I was quite a bit sceptical to see the Starz series (thinking, it would be commonHollywood junk). But once I spent the first few minutes watching Andy’s performance…..man, I was fan forever. Great show, great actor (s), great scrip….total success….and naturally- terrible loss. Not sure if I would be able to rekindle my appreciation for the show after Andy had prematurely left us! RIP dear man, blessings to your soul and family!

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Kat September 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm

This is so sad; I remember thinking that he’d be fine, having money and success. But of course, that can only help you get good medical help, it’s no guarantee that you’d live.

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Bill C... September 12, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Really enjoyed him as Spartacus… Real shame that he lost the battle… Rest in Peace…

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Gavin September 12, 2011 at 4:20 pm

The good always die young, my thoughts and prayers go out to Andy and his family.

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Darvedd September 12, 2011 at 4:06 pm

A sad, untimely loss.

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Sharon Ambrow September 12, 2011 at 2:37 pm

I was very saddened by the tragic passing of such a young man. My sincere sympathy to his entire family and prayers go to all of those who knew him. I was praying for his speedy recovering and the return to the Spartacus series. I related to his battle with cancer and know how hard of a battle it is every day. He was a true WARRIOR! We all will miss this couragious young man.

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hau September 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm

If Andy was born in 1974, then he should be 37 years old???

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admin September 12, 2011 at 2:51 pm

hau » I’m not sure where the disconnect is with his birthdate but almost all of the news sources (AP, NY Times included) are reporting that he was 39. Many actors fudge their age and perhaps at some point he shaved a couple years off his birthdate and it stuck.

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Heather Jones September 12, 2011 at 11:31 am

Andy’s very hard courageous work in fighting with cancer firstly.
Then Andy’s amazing hard working acting role as Spartacus – goes without saying.

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Isis Emerald September 12, 2011 at 11:29 am

Though I never knew Andy Whitfield or his work, I am sad to see a young person die so tragically. May he rest in peace.

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