Andy Whitfield, star of the US television series Spartacus: Blood And Sand, has died at the age of 39, his manager has said.
The Welsh-born actor, who played the title role in the controversial swords and sandals drama, had been diagnosed with cancer.
He was found to have non-Hodgkin lymphoma during a routine check-up last year just before filming began on the second season of the drama, set during the Roman Empire.
Doctors said at the time that the cancer was detected in its early stages and was ‘very treatable’.
Whitfield’s manager, Sam Maydew, told the Associated Press that he died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in Sydney, Australia, on Sunday.
In a statement, Whitfield’s wife, Vashti, described her husband as a “beautiful young warrior” who died in the “arms of his loving wife”.
“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,” she said in a statement.
“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.”
The actor was a virtual unknown when he was cast as Spartacus in the drama, which attracted controversy because of its stark sex and violence storylines.
In January, after Whitfield’s condition deteriorated, it was announced that Australian actor Liam McIntyre would take over the role in the second season of Spartacus: Blood And Sand.