Andy Whitfield, Spartacus


"Tragic, such an amazing actor."

That was the tweet this morning from Twilight's Kellan Lutz on Spartacus: Blood and Sand star Andy Whitfield, who died Sunday at age 39 from cancer.

In the following piece originally published last January when Touched By an Angel star John Dye was felled by a heart attack, we remember other TV stars whom we lost too soon to natural causes:

1. GIlda Radner: The heart of the original Saturday Night Live cast—her characters included brash Roseanne Roseannadanna, and sweet, but deaf Emily Litella—the comic and wife of Gene Wilder was 43 when she succumbed to ovarian cancer in 1989, the same day as SNL's 14th season finale.

2. Diana Hyland: The veteran prime-time actress, who was romantically linked to the 18-years-younger John Travolta after playing his mother in the 1976 TV-movie, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, lost a battle to breast cancer at age 41, just two weeks after the premiere of her new series, Eight Is Enough.

3. David Bloom: Called a "rising star" at NBC News, the weekend coanchor of Today was 39, and covering the initial stages of the fighting in Iraq in 2003 when he died of a blood clot.

4. Danitra Vance: Acclaimed for her performance art, but best known for a brief stint on SNL where she became the first African-American woman to break into the show's regular cast, Vance died in 1994 at age 35 of breast cancer.

5. Jennifer Lyon: In 2005, Lyon placed fourth on Survivor: Palau—and was diagnosed with breast cancer. She died last year at age 37.

Also remembered: John Candy (SCTV), Heather O'Rourke (Happy Days), Richard Long (Nanny and the Professor, Big Valley), Wally Cox (Hollywood Squares, Mr. Peepers, Underdog), Pedro Zamora (The Real World: San Francisco).

(Originally published Jan. 15, 2011, at 2:30 p.m. PT)

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