Spartacus actress Erin Cummings opens up about the death of her co-star

Cancer survivor Erin Cummings has been advocating for medicinal cannabis since surviving the disease herself. 

Last week on Patrick Gower: On Weed, she opened up about how cannabis helped her recovery from breast cancer. 

The Spartacus actress also helped Gower come to terms with the pain his mum experienced with the disease. 

"You didn't let your mum down, your Government let your mum down," she said. 

Something that didn't make the cut was Erin's memories of working closely with actor Andy Whitfield, who's own career was sadly cut short by cancer during the production of Spartacus

This was the first time she's ever spoken publicly about losing her friend.

Hit TV drama Spartacus was filmed in New Zealand between 2010 and 2013, with Welsh actor Andy Whitfield cast in the role of the Thracian gladiator.

Production was halted after the first series when Andy was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a cancer that develops in white blood cells. 

Erin said Whitfield was only 38 when he died. He had been seeing a physio for pain in his back, which was eventually diagnosed as a tumour on his spine. 

"But everyone seemed really positive, you're going to go get treatment... and then he died," Erin said.   

Erin and her real-life husband Tom Degnan both ended up surviving cancer during their first year of marriage. Sadly, Andy wasn't so lucky. 

"I remember getting an email and they said, 'hey if you want to say something to Andy you should probably do it now,' and I now realised that that was their way of saying, you know, he's going to die soon, and you should say your goodbyes.

"But it never occurred to me at the time that that's what they were saying.

"It pains me that Andy would have been in so much pain."

Erin said she didn't talk a lot about Andy's passing. 

"When you have a dear friend that you love so much, I don't care if you're on television or not, you don't want to have a microphone shoved in your face when you're going through a grieving process," she said.

"That was September 11, 2011, this is like the first time I've spoken about it in front of a camera and it's still painful." 

Part two of Patrick Gower: On Weed is on Three at 8:30pm on Wednesday

Catch up on Part One on ThreeNow here.


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