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Spartacus:Blood and Sand Star Dies at Age 39

Andy Whitfield won many battles as Spartacus in the popular Spartacus television series. Unfortunately on September 11, 2011 the actor lost his battle with an unforgiving opponent called non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Whitfield's wife Vashti called her husband a "beautiful young warrior" in a heartfelt statement that was released.

Before landing the role of his life on "Spartacus" the Welsh-Australian actor was basically unknown. In March of 2010, while preparing for the hit Starz series Whitfield was diagnosed with the life threatening disease. He immediately started treatment and was declared cancer free a short 2 months later.

In a shocking September 2010 statement Whitfield announced that he would be leaving Spartacus to resume treatment for the disease. Though he had big shoes to fill in January of 2011 Australian actor Liam McIntyre was picked to take over for Whitfield. Starz CEO and President Chris Albrecht is quoted as saying, "Since no one can really replace Andy, we realized that we should instead find an actor who can truly lead Spartacus forward. It was important to us to have Andy endorse the idea of recasting this part, which he did in the same heroic manner that he's dealt with his whole ordeal."

In a separate statement issued on September 11, 2011 Albrecht said, "We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Andy Whitfield. 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 was survived by his wife and 2 children. Though ultimately he lost a battle with something that touches everyone in one way or another Whitfield serves as an example of courage under fire for us all. I am sure that he will be dearly missed by his family and his adoring fans.

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