Andy Whitfield, who was from Wales but lived in Australia, was a relatively unknown actor until he was chosen for the series, a sex- and blood-soaked version of the early life of the Thracian gladiator who led a slave rebellion against the Roman ruling class from 73 to 71 B.C.
Whitfield took what was supposed to be a temporary leave from the show, which was an instant hit after its January 2010 debut, after a routine check-up in March of that year revealed a recurrence of cancer.
Starz Entertainment, the premium channel that airs the show, used different actors to film a prequel called Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, while awaiting the star's return. But Mr. Whitfield never recovered enough to come back.
Andy Whitfield is survived by two children and a sister. In her statement, his wife described him as "our beautiful young warrior." She said he died in her arms.
Statement from Starz, which was home to Spartacus: Blood and Sand: