Actor Andy Whitfield, who starred on the first season of the Starz series ‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand,’ has died in Sydney, Australia from non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He was 39.

Whitfield’s wife, who called her husband “a beautiful young warrior,” said, “He passed peacefully surrounded by love. Thank you to all his fans whose love and support have help carry him to this point. He will be remembered as the inspiring, courageous and gentle man, father and husband he was.”

In early 2010, the Welsh actor was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma while he was preparing for the second season of ‘Spartacus.’ He completed treatment and was declared cancer-free, but just a few months later, the disease returned and Whitfield left the hit series to resume treatment. Australian actor Liam McIntyre eventually stepped in to replace him.

In a statement, Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht said:

We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Andy Whitfield. 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.

[Associated Press]