RIP Andy Whitfield
The LA Times has this: "Andy Whitfield, who appeared in the Starz period drama "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," has died, the network confirmed. Whitfield died Sunday of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in Sydney, Australia. He was 39. Whitfield appeared as the gladiator hero in the first season of the cable series but stepped down from the role before the second season because of his illness. “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Andy Whitfield,” said Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht in a statement. “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." The network announced back in January that Australian actor Liam McIntyre had been enlisted to take over the role. “It’s hard. You kind of wish you didn’t have the opportunity,” McIntyre said at this year's Comic-Con about taking on the role. “The best thing I can do is bust my [butt] … and honor the legacy.” "Spartacus: Vengeance" is slated to premiere in January.
The following is a statement from his wife, Vashti Whitfield: 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."
And this from EW: "Whitfield’s Spartacus co-star Lucy Lawless also paid tribute to him in a statement to EW: “Obviously, Andy 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. 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. Godspeed, Andy!”
“No words to express the depth of such a loss. You will be deeply missed, my brother,” said Spartacus creator Steven DeKnight on Twitter."