Welsh actor Andy Whitfield, best known for his leading role in the Starz television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, died from non-Hodgkins lymphoma at age 37 Sunday in Sydney, Australia, according to media reports.

Whitfield's wife, Vashti, in a statement called him a beautiful young warrior who died on a sunny Sydney morning in the arms of his loving wife.

Whitfield was born in Wales and lived in Australia. He was little known till he was cast in the title role in the hit series Spartacus, which grabbed international attention for its graphic violence and sexuality.

Whitfield was preparing for the second season when he was diagnosed 18 months ago and had to drop out of the role.

Fans posted condolences on his fan page on Facebook.

You had the hardest battle any human being can fight, and never stop fighting. You will be always remembered. Rest in peace, wrote Leo Olmos.

Another fan posted dialogues from a touching scene in the fourth episode of season 1 of Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

Arden Fuller wrote:

He is gone but will always be remembered for playing the role of a lifetime. 
Sura: Your wounds... 
Spartacus: I'm allright. 
Sura: You push yourself too far. 
Spartacus: And yet I live. 

Curt Wagner, a TV columnist with RedEye at the Tribune Co., called Whitfield intelligent, thoughtful, funny and a completely likable guy and talented actor. He was a true star.

Australian actor Liam McIntyre took over the role this year.