The actor died yesterday in Sydney, Australia, following a battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
He was diagnosed with stage one of the disease in March 2010, but was declared cancer-free two months later after beginning treatment in New Zealand.
He suffered a relapse in September and was advised to resume ‘aggressive treatment’ for the illness.
His wife said in a statement: “On a beautiful sunny Sydney spring morning, surrounded by his family, in the arms of his loving wife, our beautiful young warrior Andy Whitfield lost his 18-month battle with lymphoma cancer.
“He passed peacefully surrounded by love. Thank you to all his fans whose love and support have helped carry him to this point. He will be remembered as the inspiring, courageous and gentle man, father and husband he was.”
Whitfield was a virtual unknown when he was cast as the legendary Thracian slave in ‘Spartacus’, a role made famous by Kirk Douglas in the 1960 Stanley Kubrick film, but the movie proved a breakout. Whitfield appeared in all 13 episodes of the first season that aired in 2010, and was preparing to shoot the second when he was diagnosed with cancer.
While waiting for Whitfield’s treatment and expected recovery, the network produced a six-part prequel, ‘Spartacus: Gods of the Arena’ that aired earlier this year with only a brief voice-over from the actor