Andy Whitfield lived his life to the full and loved the best he could, but unfortunately, his story ends earlier than anyone would have wanted. He is best known for his role as the Thracian slave ‘Spartacus’ in the popular television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Before his 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 got his lead role in Spartacus where he played the role of a gladiator.
Andy could only manage a short voice performance in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena before he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which later cost him his life at the height 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 October 17, 1971. The Whitfield family was an upper-middle-class family who was Welsh citizens. Andy had an older sister, Laura, who later became a nurse in Cardiff. The aspiring actor received his early education at the Sir Thomas Jones School Amlwch in Anglesey, but he graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a degree in engineering.
After working as an engineer for several years, he was encouraged by his wife to try his hand at modeling. Not long after he had made progress in modeling, he decided to take up acting. He started with small roles, but his big break came in 2010 when he was offered a lead role in Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Unfortunately, Andy could only finish the first season before he was diagnosed with cancer.
After graduating from university, the budding actor worked for five years in the London construction industry. With his girlfriend at the time, Vashti, he moved to Sydney in 1999, where he worked for a consultancy firm in his capacity as a building inspector and consulting engineer. After being discovered on the beach by a photographer, his wife inspired him to take up a part-time job as a model, and eventually, he took part in over 40 model campaigns in Asia and Europe.
Recognizing his latent talent, the rising star began to reorganize his life, moving into photography and training at the 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 on television and in short films but decided to take a break after the birth of his first child. But the Australian film Gabriel brought him back on board.
In 2008, the actor got more guest roles in several Australian series, including McLeod’s Daughters and The Strip Packed to the Rafters, but his most iconic role was that of the main character in Spartacus: Blood and Sand, which earned him a nomination at the Monte Carlo TV Festival for the “Best Actor Award”.
Who was His Wife?
Andy Whitfield was married only once in his life to his long-time girlfriend Vashti. The couple met in London and eventually moved to Sydney, where they entered into a marriage in October 2011. Vashti, who is Iranian-Australian, is an international speaker, executive coach, motivator, facilitator, and mentor.
By all indications, the couple seemed happily married and were not involved in any rumors or controversy. Their marriage was blessed with two children, 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 would not go away. Initially, he thought that this was the result of his role in the show, which was physically demanding and required many stunts. But unfortunately, this was not the case.
In March 2010, when Andy’s diagnosis became known, the Spartacus gladiator had cancer. According to his doctors, it was a form of cancer known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was already in stage 4. The actor still returned to New Zealand to play on the set of the second season of Spartacus after undergoing chemotherapy, but then tragedy struck. A routine check-up for the insurance company revealed that the cancer was back, and this time the chemo was really hard, and without it, the father of two would have barely six months to live.
Andy Whitfield and his wife made the conscious decision to document his second battle with the disease, and for over a year the couple invited a film crew to train digital cameras on them, which recorded the entire process until the unfortunate day when the film star died at the young age of 39.
Andy Whitfield died in Sydney on September 11, 2011.