‘Spartacus’ Star Dies Too Young Fighting Real-Life Foe

Andy WhitfieldAndy Whitfield may not have been a household name yet, but judging by a quick Google search of his work on the Web, he was no doubt a star on the rise, a star whose light was extinguished way too early. Whitfield, 39, star of the Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, died Sunday in Australia, 18 months after he was diagnosed with lymphoma, a type of cancer that's found in the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, and other parts of the body.

Even though he was only in the spotlight for a short time in his career, he is worth looking up, like I did, if only to put life into perspective and count your blessings again. Because if his talent doesn't move you, certainly the fact that he leaves behind two little kids will.

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For the disease to take him so quickly, it must have been aggressive and debilitating. He was diagnosed just after finishing filming for the first season of Spartacus, and it was such a hit that the studios put the second season on hold while he recovered. But he never did, and now a new actor will play the lead role of the gladiator hero who organizes a rebellion against the Romans.

Despite his roles, he was said to have been a very gentle man in real life. But you would never guess watching him play such an invincible character that anything could take him down. Take a look at him in the official trailer for Spartacus, and in an equally tough but more modern take on the bad-ass role, this short film he helped make for the video game Time Crisis:

We should realize the tragedy of losing someone so bright and young, but also acknowledge how beautifully he left this stage and hope that our passing can be just as his was. He died in his wife's arms, surrounded by family. It was a sunny, lovely day. His wife, Vashti, issued this statement:

He passed peacefully surrounded by love. Thank you to all his fans whose love and support have help carry him to this point. He will be remembered as the inspiring, courageous, and gentle man, father, and husband he was.

RIP Andy, the battle is finally over.

Did you watch Spartacus: Blood and Sand?


Image via Jason Merritt/Getty

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