Spartacus star Andy Whitfield dies at 39 after battle with cancer

Originally from Wales, he died in Sydney, Australia, where he had been living since 1999.

He was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer in March 2010 but was declared cancer-free two months later after beginning treatment.

But the cancer returned in September of that year and he announced that he would not be resuming his work on the Starz series so he could undergo aggressive cancer treatment. He was replaced by actor Liam McIntyre.

“Andy’s such a wonderful actor. I don’t want to follow that guy, and everybody hurts that he’s had to give up the role, myself included,” McIntyre said at the time

However, the actor lost the battle with cancer. He died Sunday in a Sydney hospital surrounded by his family at the age of 39.

Andy’s wife Vashti paid an emotional tribute to her husband, saying: “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 helped carry him to this point. He will be remembered as the inspiring, courageous and gentle man, father and husband he was.”

The creator and producer of the Spartacus series, Steven DeKnight, tweeted: “No words to express the depth of such a loss. You will be deeply missed, my brother.”

Andy’s co-star in Spartacus, Lucy Lawless, wrote on her website that Whitfield was a “gentle man who never had a bad world about anyone”.

“Obviously, Andy Whitfield left an indelible mark on all of us in the Spartacus family,” she continued. “Andy’s incandescent film presence made men want to be him and women want to marry him. Andy’s two babies will always know that their Daddy cherished them and their mother, Vashti, above all things. How lucky we were to have him grace all our lives.”