'Spartacus' Actor Ioane 'John' King Dead at 49 After 'Long Battle' with Cancer

Ioane "John" King had played Rhaskos on Spartacus and Spartacus: Gods of the Arena

Ioane 'John' King in Spartacus
Photo: Starz

Ioane "John" King, best known for his involvement in Starz's Spartacus franchise, has died at age 49.

The New Zealander was surrounded by friends and family when he died of adenocarcinoma cancer, a Facebook page dedicated to the late actor confirmed. The Hollywood Reporter further confirmed he passed away on Aug. 15.

"John leaves a big hole in this world, having been a wonderful husband, father, son, brother, friend and human being," read the Facebook statement. "Those of us lucky to have met him will carry on with his legacy of kindness, positive influence, hard work and love."

It concluded, "Please, if you can, continue to support John's family through their own fight in this difficult period."

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In a statement shared with PEOPLE, King's sister, Anne Wall, said the actor "lived life to its fullest."

"He was a loving son, brother, father, husband, uncle and the greatest friend anyone could hope for. He lived to be surrounded by people," she said. "He was an actor, a dancer, a trainer and a corrections officer. In each professional, life he worked to give people joy, laughter, purpose and fulfillment. His work on Spartacus was a dream come true and brought him lifelong friendships."

"He had a sparkle in his eyes and in his smile that drew people to him — and as his friends will attest, that smile meant he enjoyed getting into mischief frequently," she continued. "His legacy will be one of positivity, courage and love. His children have the same fierce determination to live life to its fullest and are blessed with that same sparkle."

Wall added, "He leaves his wife and family so very sad that he is no longer with us, but so very proud of his fight and forever grateful for his love."

One of King's Spartacus costars Manu Bennett said he was "saddened" by the news, as well.

"John had a long battle with cancer but faced that fight with dignity & a constant resolve not to be defeated," he wrote on Instagram.

"On Spartacus John was hired as an extra but with a powerful presence & ever positive attitude amongst the cast & crew, won himself the speaking role of Rhaskos. Fans may remember Rhaskos leading the song 'My cock rages on!' a defiant tune sung by gladiators after surviving the games," he continued. "I remember John most fondly for his huge grin & sparkle in his eye when he would welcome me & others onto set each day offering the Gladiatorial forearm handshake & acknowledging in his deep raspy voice, 'Brother!'"

Bennett added, "He was one of the boys who held the team together & wore the B brand for the House Of Batiatus upon his forearm with so much pride. Ioane (John) King was truly one of the Brothers."

King played Rhaskos in the original Spartacus series from 2010 to 2012. Additionally, he appeared in the role in the 2011 limited series Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. He had been elevated to the part after appearing as an extra.

Before his death, King had been vocal about his cancer battle across social media following his January diagnosis. Explaining why he hadn't been posting as frequently on Facebook in July, the actor revealed that he had "been in and out of hospital a lot."

"My mind is still good, but the body is not responding," he continued. "I am getting lethargic and it is hard for me to film right now. I am spending time with my kids when I can, and getting my abdomen drained every 3 or 4 days."

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King's family created a page in March to help raise money to cover his medical expenses.

King's memory was honored at a funeral held in Pukekohe, a town located on North Island, New Zealand. He is survived by his wife Christelle.

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