Andy Whitfield of 'Spartacus' dies of cancer at age 39

LOS ANGELES

The 39-year-old husband and father died Sunday in Sydney, Australia, surrounded by family after an 18-month-long battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Whitfield - who was born in Wales and moved to Australia in 1999 - was a virtual unknown when he was cast as the legendary Thracian slave in "Spartacus."

Whitfield was preparing to shoot the second season of the series when he was diagnosed with cancer.

In January, after Whitfield's condition grew worse, Starz network announced that another Australian actor, Liam McIntyre, would take over the role.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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