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OTRC: Andy Whitfield, former star of 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand,' dies

Andy Whitfield as Spartacus in a 2009 production still from 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand.' (Starz Entertainment)

Andy Whitfield, former star of the Starz cable series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," died of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma on Sunday, September 11.

The Associated Press lists Whitfield's age as 39 at the time of his death. However, previous reports of the actor's battle with the illness indicates he might have been 37 at the time of his death.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Andy Whitfield," said a Starz statement, posted on the cable network's Facebook page. "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," the statement added. "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."

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

The actor was born in Wales and lived in Australia. He got his breakthrough role in "Spartacus," a hit original series for the Starz network in 2010.

Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in March 2010 and began treatment. Production on the second season of the "Spartacus" was put on hold and a prequel series called, "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena," was created to bridge a gap.

Whitfield then announced he was leaving the series in September 2010 after doctors told him he had to resume aggressive treatment of his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

In January it was announced that Australian actor, Liam McIntyre, would take over the role.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Andy Whitfield," Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht said in a statement Sunday night. "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."

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