Andy Whitfield, star of "Spartacus" series, dies at 39

Andy Whitfield, who starred in the television series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," died on Sunday in Sydney, Australia. He was 39.

The cause was lymphoma, his wife, Vashti, the statement said.

Mr. Whitfield, who was from Wales, but lived in Australia, was a relatively unknown actor until he was selected for this series, by sex and bloody version of the Thracian Gladiator's early life who led a slave rebellion against the Roman ruling class from 73 to 71 BC

Mr. Whitfield took what was supposed to be temporary leave from the show, which was an instant hit after its debut January 2010, after a routine check in March of that year revealed cancer recurrence.

Starz Entertainment, premium channel, which broadcasts the show, used by different actors to shoot a prequel called "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena," in anticipation of the return of stars. But Mr. Whitfield and has not recovered enough to return.

Liam McIntyre, a virtual unknown from Australia, took the lead in the second season of the show.

Mr. McIntyre said then: "a wonderful actor Andy. I do not want to follow this guy, and all the pain that he had to give up the role, including me."

Chris Albrecht, president and CEO of Starz, said in a statement, "The man who played a champion on the screen was also a champion in his own life." Mr. Whitfield faced with cancer, "courage, strength and grace," he said.

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