NPR logo 'Spartacus' Star Andy Whitfield Dies At 39

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'Spartacus' Star Andy Whitfield Dies At 39

Seen here at the presentation of Spartacus: Blood And Sand to critics in January 2010, Andy Whitfield has died at 39. Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Seen here at the presentation of Spartacus: Blood And Sand to critics in January 2010, Andy Whitfield has died at 39.

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Very sad news: Andy Whitfield, the star of Spartacus: Blood And Sand on Starz, has died of cancer at 39. Whitfield's diagnosis came after the shooting of that season, and he had to drop out of the series — Spartacus will be played by Liam McIntyre in the upcoming run of episodes, called Spartacus: Vengeance. This summer at press tour, McIntyre told critics this about Whitfield:

He's gotten in contact with me, and he I mean, the guy has got, I know from experience now, the job that you dream of getting. It's the job of a lifetime, and then he's met with this tragic circumstance. And he's still got the strength of character to contact me and say, "Good luck. Well done," and give me some tips and advice on how to get through the grueling schedule. I think that speaks volumes of a man. He's fantastic.

Starz has issued a statement on Whitfield's passing through its president and CEO, Chris Albrecht:

We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Andy Whitfield. We were fortunate to have worked with Andy in 'Spartacus' and came to know that the man who played a champion on-screen was also a champion in his own life. Andy was an inspiration to all of us as he faced this very personal battle with courage, strength and grace. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time. He will live on in the hearts of his family, friends and fans.

Spartacus: Vengeance is scheduled to premiere in January 2012.

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