Tragic news from Australia, as Starz has released a statement confirming the death of Spartacus: Blood and Sand star Andy Whitfield from non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Whitfield, a relative unknown when he was cast as Spartacus, impressed fans and critics alike with his intense, emotionally wrenching portrayal of a man tormented by his past and destined to lead a bloody uprising against the tyranny of all-powerful Rome.
In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, his co-star Lucy Lawless remembered Whitfield as “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.” Initially diagnosed with cancer while preparing for the second season of Spartacus, Whitfield battled back (appearing at San Diego Comic Con in 2010, where he was greeted by thunderous applause) only to relapse a few short months later; he was only 39, and leaves behind a wife and two children.
Whitfield will continue to be celebrated by fans for both his brooding, electric performances as well as our occasional glimpses of the man behind the scenes, in lighter moments. While his time in the spotlight was brief, Andy Whitfield will certainly be remembered as a great talent gone far, far too soon.