The untimely death of “Spartacus” star Andy Whitfield — and the grace he showed while battling his illness — still resonates deeply with co-star Lucy Lawless and Liam McIntyre, the Australian actor tasked with replacing Whitfield as the gladiator drama’s titular star.

Lucy said:

“We fully expected Andy to come back. We wanted him to go through treatment, and in order to keep the show alive in the interim they hurriedly wrote [the prequel],” she says. “It was really a stop-gap measure to keep the ‘franchise,’ for want of a better word, alive while giving Andy time to heal.
“Unfortunately that didn’t happen,” she says. “Andy, bless him, came to love the crew and wanted them to keep working . . . so he said, ‘Please re-cast my part, I need to focus on my health.’ And he was so kind about it,” she says. “He was a very spiritual fellow. He came back to visit us when we were doing the prequel and I said to him, ‘I’d be so envious if I were you, watching your “family” carry on.’ He said, ‘I do feel bad, but I love [the cast and crew] so much.’ He had a lot of grace about that.”

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