Actor Andy Whitfield, who starred in Spartacus: Blood and Sand before leaving the cable series to battle lymphoma, has died at age 39, reports Associated Press.
Whitfield played the title character in the first season of the popular Starz series, a favorite with LGBT viewers for its homoeroticism, gay characters, and well-executed action scenes.
Whitfield's manager Sam Maydew says the actor died Sunday of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in Sydney, Australia. Whitfield's wife Vashti called her husband a "beautiful young warrior" in a statement released to the press.
Whitfield was diagnosed 18 months ago as he was preparing for the second season. The network eventually replaced him with actor Liam McIntyre.