Sad news tonight out of the TV world as Andy Whitfield, the former star of the hit Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, has died after a battle with cancer. The actor died on September 11, 2011, of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in Sydney, Australia, after an 18-month fight. He was 39.
While many may not have known his name going into the show, his turn as the show’s lead was so well received that instead of recasting the character right away, the show halted their production for the second season while he fought his illness. In the meantime, they worked on a prequel while he was in treatment in hopes of his return to the series. Eventually, with Whitfield’s blessing after his cancer returned, the role was recast with Australian actor Liam McIntyre taking over the lead.
Now, personally, while I’m not too familiar with the show or Whitfield’s work on it, this is deeply sad news. He’s been garnering huge buzz for his performance here, and it’s definitely a sad loss, particularly since it looked as though he was winning this fight. Hopefully this won’t hinder the show itself as it was a really well received series, but at this point, the only thing that matters is letting the family and friends of this beloved up and coming actor know that all of our thoughts are with them. Rest in peace.
Andy Whitfield – RIP
July 17, 1972 – September 11, 2011