Andy Whitfield lived life to the fullest and loved the best he could, but unfortunately, his story ends earlier than anyone would have liked. He is best known for playing the role of the Thracian slave ‘Spartacus’ in the popular television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Before fame, Andy played minor roles in several television shows including The Strip, McLeod’s Daughters, Opening Up, Packed to the Rafters, The Clinic, and All Saints. The movie, Gabriel, gave him his first major role before he landed his starring role in Spartacus, where he played the role of a gladiator.
Andy was only able to handle a brief voice appearance in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena before he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which later claimed his life at the peak of his promising career.
Who was Andy Whitfield?
The actor was the only son of Pat and Robert Whitfield. He was born in Amlwch, Wales on the 17th of October 1971. The Whitfield family were an upper-middle-class family who are Welsh nationals. Andy had an elder sister, Laura, who later became a nurse in Cardiff. The budding actor got his early education from Sir Thomas Jones School Amlwch, Anglesey but his university degree was gotten from Sheffield Hallam University where he graduated with a degree in engineering.
After practicing engineering for a few years, he was encouraged by his wife to try his hand at modeling. Not long after he started making headway in modeling, he decided to go into acting. He started with small roles, but his big break came in 2010 when he was offered a starring role in Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Unfortunately, Andy was only able to complete the first season before he was diagnosed with cancer.
After his graduation from the university, the budding actor spent five years working in a London construction industry. He relocated to Sydney in 1999 with his then-girlfriend, Vashti, where he worked for a consulting agency in his capacity as a building inspector and a consulting engineer. After he was discovered on the beach by a photographer, his wife inspired him to take on a part-time job as a model and eventually, he became part of over 40 modeling campaigns in both Asia and Europe.
On realizing his latent talent, the rising star started to reorganize his life, he went into photography and underwent training at Screenwise Film & TV School for Actors in Sydney; and in 2004, Andy made his first appearance in the television drama All Saints in a guest role. From then on, he continued to get other roles in television and short films but decided to take a break after the birth of his first child. However, the Australian film Gabriel brought him on board again.
In 2008, the actor landed more guest roles in several Australian series including McLeod’s Daughters and The Strip Packed to the Rafters but his most iconic role was as the lead character in Spartacus: Blood and Sand which earned him a nomination in the Monte-Carlo TV Festival for the “Best Actor Award”.
Who was His Wife?
Andy Whitfield was married only once in his lifetime to his long-standing girlfriend, Vashti. The couple met in London and eventually moved to Sydney where they tied the knot in October 2011. Vashti, who is an Iranian-Australian, is an International Speaker, Executive Coach, Motivator, Facilitator and Mentor.
From all indications, the couple seemed to be happily married and were not involved in any rumors or controversy. Their marriage was blessed with two kids, a son – Jesse Red Whitfield and a daughter – Indigo Sky Whitfield.
How did he Die?
After the first season of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Andy Whitfield complained of severe back pain that refused to go away. Initially, he thought it was the result of his role on the show which was physically demanding and required a lot of stunts. But unfortunately, that was not the case.
By March 2010, Andy’s diagnosis was revealed, the Spartacus gladiator had cancer. According to his physicians, it was a form of cancer known as non-Hodgkin lymphoma and it was already at stage 4. The actor still returned to New Zealand for the set of the second season of Spartacus after undergoing chemotherapy, but then tragedy struck. A routine examination for insurance revealed that the cancer was back and this time, the chemo was really going to be tough and without it, the father of two would have barely six months to live.
Andy Whitfield and his wife made a conscious decision to document his second battle with the disease and for over a year, the couple invited a film crew who trained digital cameras on them recording the whole process until the unfortunate day when the movie star passed away at the young age of 39.
Andy Whitfield died in Sydney on the 11th of September 2011.