'Spartacus' Lead Andy Whitfield, 39, Dies from Lymphoma

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Andy Whitfield star of 'Spartacus died in in Australia on Sunday following an eighteen month battle with a type of blood cancer called non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Andy Whitfield,” said Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Whitfield, who was originally from Wales, performed in a number of TV shows including "All Saints", "Packed to the Rafters," shortly before his role as the lead in "Spartacus: Blood and Sand."

"He was a gentle man who never said a bad word about anyone," recalled co-star Lucy Lawless,"...a gifted photographer, engineer (no really!) and a brilliant actor."

"Spartacus" gained prominence last year for its intense graphical violence when it reached over 3.3 million viewers, proving a 'breakout' hit for publisher Starz Entertainment, before Whitfield was diagnosed in March of the first year (2010) it was aired.

His condition is known to affect around 60,000 new people each year causing 19,000 deaths.

"On a beautiful sunny Sydney spring morning, surrounded by his family, in the arms of his loving wife, our beautiful young warrior Andy Whitfield lost his 18 month battle with lymphoma cancer," Vashti - his wife - said.

"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."

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