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    Spartacus Star Andy Whitfield Dies at Age 39

    Andy Whitfield, Spartacus STARZ

    Andy Whitfield, who starred in Spartacus: Blood and Sand, died of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma on Sunday in Sydney, Australia. He was 39 years-old.

    Whitfield's wife Vashti issued a statement saying Andy, whom she called "a beautiful young warrior," died on a "Sunny Sydney morning in the "arms of his loving wife."

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    The Welsh-Australian actor was relatively unknown before landed the lead role in Starz network's hit series Spartacus. While preparing for the show's second season, Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in March 2010. Two months later, he was declared cancer-free after completing treatment.

    In September 2010, it was announced that Whitfield would be leaving the series to resume treatment. In January, Australian actor Liam McIntyre was selected to take over Whitfield's role.  "Since no one can really replace Andy, we realized that we should instead find an actor who can truly lead Spartacus forward," Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht said at the time. "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 statement issued on Sunday, 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."

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