Andy Whitfield: A Star Gone Too Soon
Andy Whitfield, best known as the star of the television series “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” has died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma at age 39.
Whitfield, a native of Wales, moved to Australia in 1999. The occasional model had stints in the television shows “Packed to the Rafters” and “All Saints,” but his acting breakthrough came in “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” when he was cast in the lead role. The series was a runaway hit for the network, in part due to previous character portrayals, including screen legend Kirk Douglas, and the show’s propensity for graphic violence and sexuality.
Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in March 2010, and sought treatment shortly thereafter in New Zealand. He filmed all 13 episodes of the first season of “Spartacus,” and provided the voiceover for the prequel series “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena.” Although thought to be in remission, the cancer returned in January 2011, prompting network executives to replace Whitfield with actor Liam McIntyre.
Non-Hodgkins lymphoma is a cancer of the blood and starts in the lymph nodes. It is treatable with chemotherapy and blood transfusions, however this strain of lymphoma has doubled in diagnosis since the 1970’s.
Praise for Whitfield’s work has come from all corners, with his wife Vashti remembering her husband as an “inspiring, courageous, and gentle man,” and Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht hailing him as a “champion onscreen (and) a champion in his own life.”