Andy Whitfield, who's impressive physque didn't hurt his lead performance in the Starz series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" has died in his home country of Australia after a battle with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Whitfield was 39.
In a statement provided to Associated Press, Whitfield's wife, Vashti, called her husband a "beautiful young warrior" who died on a "sunny morning" in the "arms of his loving wife."
Whitfield -- who was born in Wales and lived in Australia -- was a virtual unknown when he was cast as the title hero in "Spartacus," a hit original series for the Starz network that was known for its graphic violence and sexuality.
Whitfield was preparing for the show's second season when he was diagnosed 18 months ago. And in January, the network announced that another Australian actor, Liam McIntyre, would take over the series' lead role.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Andy Whitfield,” said Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht. “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.”