How is Andy Whitfield from my favorite show Spartacus? I heard he left the show because he had leukemia?
—Rita Harden, Logan, Ohio
Sadly, Whitfield, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma following the first season of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, died Sept. 11, 2011. He was 40.
The producers had hoped he would be able to return to the series, which is why for the second season, they did a prequel, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, in which Spartacus did not appear.
Initially, Whitfield responded to treatment, so he was preparing to film the third season, Spartacus: Vengeance, when he had a recurrence of the disease, necessitating the recasting of the role with Liam McIntyre, 30.
The two men were in touch prior to Whitfield’s passing. “He [had] 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, and his legacy from season one will continue forever,” McIntyre says.