Spartacus star Ioane ‘John’ King dies aged 49, seven months after cancer diagnosis

The actor played Rhaskos in Starz drama Spartacus (Picture: Starz / givealittle.co.nz)

Ioane ‘John’ King, who played gladiator Rhaskos in Spartacus, has died aged 49 following a diagnosis. 

He was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma cancer in January 2022, but it spread to other parts of his body, including his pancreas.

The actor played the gladiator Rhaskos in the hit Starz franchise Spartacus.

His family confirmed the news on Facebook, sharing a statement on his fundraising page.

They wrote: ‘Hello Whānau. This is an update regarding John. With sadness we share that earlier today John’s fight ended. He passed in the company of loving friends and family.

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

He was open with fans about his illness with cancer (Picture: givealittle.co.nz)

‘Please, if you can, continue to support John’s family through their own fight in this difficult period.

‘This page will continue to be available for those who wish to reach out.’

Fellow Spartacus star Manu Bennett, who played Crixus in Spartacus, offered up a heartfelt tribute on Friday, with a picture of King as his alter-ego.

He commented: ‘John had a long battle with cancer but faced that fight with dignity & a constant resolve not to be defeated.

Ioane King played the popular gladiator in the series (Picture: Starz)

‘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,’ Manu wrote.

Sharing some of his other memories of his late co-star, he 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.’

The star has died just 7 months after his diagnosis (Picture: givealittle.co.nz)

As well as a website named Spartacan Great Battle, a  and  were set up to help John with his cancer diagnosis.

The site shares that: ‘When John was told he was facing 95% chance of losing his battle, his response was “At least I have a 5% chance to win”. This is who he is.’

The fundraiser was also set up to help John and his wife Christelle gain funds to complete work on their home, which they’d purchased just weeks before his diagnosis. 

‘They put their life savings into building a new home and intended to continue to work on it for the next years,’ read the fundraiser.

‘But the pride and happiness surrounding this project were struck down. Six weeks after moving into their home total devastation hit with John’s diagnosis. They have had to reassess their priorities completely,’ it continued.

‘To his family, John is our golden child. To his friends, he is the most amazing, selfless soul we know. To everyone else, John is a wonderful stranger who makes this world better simply by being who he is.’

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