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Jai Courtney: 'Andy Whitfield was a hero to me'

Jai Courtney remembers his late co-star Andy Whitfield as a "very special friend" and "kind of a hero".

The Terminator Genisys star became close friends with Andy on the set of 2010 TV series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, and Andy became a mentor for the young Australian as he was trying to break into Hollywood.


Jai was left stunned when his pal was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma shortly before the second season began filming and Andy passed away in 2011, aged 39.


“He became kind of a mentor, kind of a hero to me in a way,” Jai tells ETOnline.com. “Not only in what he was achieving within the world of our profession, but just in the way he lived his life. We became fast friends, and I just looked up to him so much.


“He inspired people every day and engaged with people every day in a way that was really quite magnetic and hard to sort of dispute or deny. He really did have the power to sort of change lives."


Andy was given the all-clear in his cancer battle in 2010 but it returned a few months later. He invited documentary maker Lilibet Foster to follow his cancer fight and the film, Be Here Now, is set for a limited release this month (Apr16) thanks to a crowdfunding effort.


“Andy was a very special friend - and his family, I consider an extension of my own,” Jai continues. “To see this film finally go the distance and be having a release is such a triumph.”


Jai, 30, has remains close friends with Andy's wife Vashti and is also the godfather of their two children, Jesse, ten, and Indigo, eight. He even has a skull tattoo on his right forearm which Indigo drew.