Spartacus actor Andy Whitfield has died at the age of 39.

The Welsh-Australian actor, who played the title role in the first season of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, passed away on Sunday in Sydney after suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Whitfield was diagnosed with Stage 1 non-Hodgkin lymphoma in March 2010 and was declared cancer-free two months later.

However, the cancer returned in September of that year and he was advised to resume "aggressive treatment" for the disease.

Whitfield was forced to leave the drama after one season to undergo treatment.

The president and CEO of Starz Chris Albrecht said that the network was "deeply saddened" by the news that the actor had passed away.

He said: "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."