Starz’s Spartacus star Andy Whitfield succumbed to non-Hodgkin Lymphoma on Sunday, September 9, 2011. He was first diagnosed of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, on March 2010 while he preparing for the second season of Spartacus.
Although a relative unknown, he made a name for himself with this role. Because of his stellar and memorable performance as Spartacus, the second season was postponed in order to give Whitfield time to recover (after the diagnosis, he immediately underwent treatment in New Zealand and was declare cancer-free two months later). It was during this time that the producers decided to shoot a prequel series titled, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, without him. “For a while, it seemed Whitfield would make it — he was cleared to start work on season two and made a triumphant return appearance at Comic-Con. But Whitfield soon relapsed. Faced with the decision of either cancelling the series or recasting, Starz and producers opted to hire newcomer Liam McIntyre for the lead role, with Whitfield’s blessing.” (http://insidetv.ew.com/2011/09/11/andy-whitfield-death/)
Andy Whitfield, a Welsh-born Australian actor and model, is known for his performance as the lead star of Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Aside from Spartacus, he’s also made appearances in other TV shows and movies, including McLeod’s Daughters, Gabriel, and Spartacus: Gods of the Arena (voice over, uncredited). He was 39 years old when he died.
So what is the future of the show now?
The new Spartacus will be Liam McIntyre, an Australian actor, who’s also an unknown. However, he is known in Australia as being in the show Rush and Neighbours. The show will return as Spartacus: Vengeance and is slated for January 2012.
Good luck Mr. McIntyre. You’ve got big shoes (or is it sandals?) to fill. Hope you don’t disappoint the fans of the show.