'Spartacus' star Whitfield dies of lymphoma at 39

September 11, 2011 - 8:45 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Andy Whitfield, the 39-year-old star of the cable series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," has died.

Manager Sam Maydew says Whitfield died Sunday of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in Sydney, Australia.

Whitfield's wife Vashti in a statement called her husband a "beautiful young warrior" who died on a "sunny Sydney morning" in the "arms of his loving wife."

Whitfield — who was born in Wales and lived in Australia — was a virtual unknown when he was cast as the title hero in "Spartacus," a hit original series for the Starz network that made waves with its graphic violence and sexuality.

Whitfield was preparing for the second season when he was diagnosed 18 months ago.

In January the network announced that another Australian actor, Liam McIntyre, would take over the role.