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Liam McIntyre to Replace Andy Whitfield on 'Spartacus'

Whitfield, who is battling cancer, gave his blessing on the casting, the network says.

Liam McIntyre

Liam McIntyre will replace Andy Whitfield, who is battling cancer, on Spartacus, Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht  announced Monday.

McIntyre will play the Thracian warrior sold into slavery in the Roman Republic city of Capua.

Whitfield gave his blessing to the casting, the networks says in a statement.

"Since no one can really replace Andy, we realized that we should instead find an actor who can truly lead ‘Spartacus’ forward,” Albrecht said. “It was important to us to have Andy endorse the idea of recasting this part, which he did in the same heroic manner that he’s dealt with his whole ordeal. And that, coupled with our fortune in finding a young actor with the gladiator credentials and the acting ability of Liam, makes it easier for us to keep this hit franchise going.”

McIntyre appeared in HBO's The Pacific. He's also appeared in Neighbours and Rush in his native Australia.

He's currently training for the role in New Zealand. Production on the series is slated to resume in spring 2011.

The show debuted January 2010 as the most-watched premiere in Starz' history.