New Zealand actor Ioane “John” King, who started out as an extra on the TV series Spartacus before being promoted to a recurring role, has died aged 49 after a battle with cancer.
The actor played the gladiator Rhaskos in the series. which was filmed in New Zealand and starred Lucy Lawless and ran from 2010 to 2013.
He died on August 15 after adenocarcinoma spread to his pancreas, his family said on a Facebook page dedicated to him.
Kiwi actor Manu Bennett of Lawless and Spartacus paid tribute to King on social media.
“John had a long battle with cancer, but he faced that battle with dignity and an abiding determination not to be defeated,” Bennett wrote on Instagram.
“John was cast as an extra on Spartacus, but with a strong presence and an always positive attitude among the cast and crew, he earned the voice of Rhaskos.”
“I remember John fondly for his big smile and the twinkle in his eyes, as he greeted me and others on set each day, offering me the gladiator forearm handshake and acknowledging ‘Brother!’ in his deep, raspy
King also worked as a personal trainer and correctional officer.
A funeral was held in Auckland on Friday. Spartacus star Andy Whitfield also died young after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2010.
He died in 2011 at the age of 39.