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'Spartacus' star Andy Whitfield dies

Andy Whitfield, who starred in "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" on Starz, has died.

The 37-year-old lost his battle with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma on Sunday, according to the Associated Press. His wife, Vashti, who was with him in Sydney, Australia, said in a statement that he was a "beautiful young warrior."

"No words to express the depth of such a loss," "Spartacus" co-creator Steven S. DeKnight wrote Sunday on Twitter. "You will be deeply missed, my brother."

Whitfield made a huge splash internationally in 2010 as the title character in Starz' violent and sexy series. I met him for interviews on a couple times, and found him to be intelligent, thoughtful, funny and a completely likable guy and talented actor. I'll remember him always as he was when we met in New York for an interview in January 2010, before "Blood and Sand" debuted. The video above is from that interviiew and gives you a taste of his personality. He was a true star.

Lucy Lawless, his "Blood and Sand" co-star, appears to have posted this message Monday on her official site, lucylawlessfanclub.com: "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!"

Whitfield was preparing for the show's second season when he was diagnosed with the cancer 18 months ago during a routine checkup. The second season was replaced by the prequel "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" so that Whitfield could be treated and then return to the series. He attended the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con fully prepared to come back for a second season.

"I'll be there, bigger and badder than ever," he told our group in the "Spartacus" press room. He had been training for four weeks to get back in shape at the time.

But a few months after Comic-Con, he suffered a relapse and bowed out the show completely to concentrate on his treatment. He gave his blessing for DeKnight and Starz to replace him. In January, Starz announced that another Australian actor, Liam McIntyre, would take over the role.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Andy Whitfield," Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht said 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."

Whitfield is survived by his wife and their two children.

Scroll down to the bottom of this page to listen and watch Whitfield's big Season 1 ending speech as Spartacus.

 

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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