Patrick Swayze dies after 20-month battle with pancreatic cancer

Patrick Swayze passed away on Monday, September 14th after a 20-month long battle with pancreatic cancer. He just turned 57 years old in August, and he was still working on his A&E series The Beast just months ago, as he was going through chemotherapy. Swayze had a reputation in Hollywood as one of the nicest, most decent men around. He always made time for his fans, he was always an utter professional, and according to nearly every story I’ve ever read about the man, he never failed to bring out the best in people. His male fans loved him for his iconic work in films like Road House and Red Dawn. His female fans loved him for his iconic roles in Dirty Dancing and Ghost. Everybody loved him as Bodhi in Point Break. Through his career, he worked on more than 47 films and television projects, and he was nominated for three Golden Globes. Swayze is survived by his wife of 32 years, Lisa.

Patrick Swayze lost his battle with pancreatic cancer Monday. He was 57.

“Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully today with family at his side after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months,” his rep tells PEOPLE in a statement.

A gifted dancer, a rugged outdoorsman, a romantic leading man and a loving husband, Swayze was also, as his brother Don put it, “a warrior” in his cancer fight.

The actor continued working on his A&E series The Beast even as he underwent chemotherapy – and never lost hope. About his prognosis, he did admit in a Barbara Walters interview that aired in January, “There’s a lot of fear here. Yeah, I’m scared. Yeah, I’m angry. Yeah, I’m [asking], ‘Why me?’ ”

A month before, Swayze had issued a statement to PEOPLE in regard to speculation about his health, saying that such questions “cast a negative shadow on the positive and good fight I’m fighting.”

Texas Native
One of five children raised in Houston, Texas, by Patsy, a dance teacher, and Jesse, a champion rodeo cowboy, Swayze grew up dancing in his mom’s studio and met his future wife, Lisa Niemi, when the two teenagers were both students there.

It was the beginning of one of Hollywood’s most enduring romances: Swayze and Niemi, 53, were married 32 years.

Over the years, the couple – both pilots who often flew together and who shared a love of horseback riding and the outdoors – would see Swayze’s career take off.

Dirty Dancing and Ghost
After breaking through in 1983′s The Outsiders, he secured a spot in movie romance history with iconic turns in 1987′s Dirty Dancing and 1990′s Ghost. In all his roles, he cited Lisa as an inspiration.

“Lisa and I have built just about every character I’ve done,” he told PEOPLE in 2007. “You have to understand, we have an ease. … We’ve been partners for a long time.”

It was Lisa who proved a “pillar of strength” during the trying past year, said her brother-in-law Don. United in their focus to overcome the awful odds – pancreatic cancer has just a 5 percent survival rate within five years of diagnosis – the couple maintained a fierce determination.

In fall 2008, he told The New York Times that although chemo had been “hell on wheels,” he refused to quit fighting.

“There is probably that little bird that flies through your insides and says, ‘I sure would like to make a mark in life,’” he said. “I’ve made a pretty decent mark so far – nothing to scoff at. But it does make you think: Wait a minute. There’s more I want to do. Lots more. Get on with it.”

[From People]

Within minutes of the announcement, Swayze’s friends, fans and former coworkers took to Twitter to pay their respects. Two of the best comments, in my opinion: “So saddened by this news. RIP dear Patrick, my fellow greaser. You fought the fight like no other. With dignity and grace.” (Ralph Macchio, Swayze’s costar in The Outsiders); “I’ll never forget the electricity I felt when I saw Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing. Even more charismatic in person. A true gentleman. RIP” (Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin). I’m sending my thoughts and prayers to Patrick’s family and friends, and hoping that his death is treated with the respect, dignity and care with which he lived his life.

Here are Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi dancing at the World Music Awards in 1994

And a clip from Ghost

Here are links to clips from Dirty Dancing.
Dirty Dancing – Cry to Me (Movie Segment)
Dirty Dancing – She’s Like the Wind (Clips)
Dirty Dancing – Time of My Life (Final Dance)

Photo Credits: and Fame Pictures

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55 Responses to “Patrick Swayze dies after 20-month battle with pancreatic cancer”

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  1. Nony says:

    Awww. He’s always going to be Bodhi to me. Rest well, Patrick.

  2. 88Modesty88 says:

    I’m stunned… Another cowboy rides off into the sunset for the very last time.

    Farewell to a gentle man and gentleman.

    Beautiful write-up, Kaiser!

  3. susan says:

    :( very sad news. My heart goes out to his wife and loved ones.

  4. lulu says:

    this is so sad, i loved him in Dirty Dancing, my thoughts are with his family and friends.

  5. CYANN says:

    God bless him and his loved ones.

  6. Annicka says:

    I actually cried when I heard about this. Out of all the people who have died this summer, hearing about this upset me the very most.

    Rest in peace, Patrick.

  7. SolitaryAngel says:

    I am so saddened by this news…my heart goes out to his family, friends, and all the people he touched in his life; today, there is a lot less light in the world.

    RIP Patrick…I will never forget you.

  8. QB says:

    So sad , RIP Swayze.

  9. Vermithrax says:

    Nicely done Kaiser.
    Rest in peace man… rest in peace. One of the coolest personalities to ever grace the biz.

  10. lady garden says:

    RIP x

  11. TwinkleToes says:

    I felt this one.

  12. Ruby Red Lips says:

    Rip, so very sad.

    A true legend, he will be remembered for always, god bless

  13. Ophelia says:

    This really does feel like the worst death in the summer of death. My heart really goes out to his wife, they had a rare thing. He seemed like a really good honest person. I was hoping he’d beat the odds and live, but he sure did go out fighting. RIP.

  14. Kaboom says:

    There’s truth in the saying “only the good die young”. RIP.

  15. tess says:

    nicely written.

    nothing really left to say. he lived a private life with dignity and surrounded by nature with those who loved and respected him. a sad way to go, but a blessed life, nonetheless.

  16. Best of British says:

    Fab actor, loved his movies. So charismatic! My heart goes out to Lisa.. RIP Patrick.

  17. Ursula says:

    This is such a sad day. So so sad.

  18. Anna says:

    What a terrible loss, I am so saddened by this. I can’t even begin to imagine how Lisa is feeling right now, it really does seem like they were soulmates. He was a brave man and such a versatile actor, the film industry is poorer without him.

    Rest in peace, Patrick. We won’t forget you, that’s for sure.

  19. Hieronymus Grex says:

    RIP Patrick, good night. :(

  20. omondieu says:

    I will always know him best as Darry Curtis. Stay gold, Patrick.

  21. mel says:

    Dirty Dancing is one of my top 5 movies all because of Patrick Swayze!!!

    RIP Patrick!

  22. Diane says:

    “One of those nice guys in LA.” My sister would tzke dance class with him and comment on how nice he was.

    My memories are Dirty Dancing and Ghost.

    Safe journey.

  23. random says:

    I am so sad. Patrick was truly a gentleman, good man and good actor. Hollywood actually lost someone pretty great today unlike all the other drug using, promiscuous morons who die and then people idolize.

  24. Guest says:

    what a life…what a loss. Rip. :(

  25. Praise St. Angie! says:

    sadness. Darry Curtis, indeed.

    He has a line in that movie that makes me cry EVERY TIME I watch it.

    “We thought we lost you like we did Mom and Dad.”

    Patrick, you may be lost from this earth but you will never be lost from our hearts.

  26. Roma says:

    I echo what’s been said – this is the saddest death of the summer for me. At least he was able to die with dignity and with love from his family.

  27. Lardy Chops says:

    He could have taught that tool Kanye West a thing or two about how to conduct yourself.

  28. sandy says:

    watching patrick and his wife in the first clip from the world music awards was very hard- don’t watch it if you have eye makeup on. what beautiful dancers and you can feel their love.
    thank you kaiser for doing a beautiful tribute.
    love the comments from machio and matlin

  29. Firestarter says:

    At least he isn’t suffering now. RIP Patrick!

  30. Texas Gal says:

    I cried too. I thought of when my family & I saw Dirty Dancing & Ghost together for the first time. Even though, as a fan, I was aware this day would come I was very shocked when I heard the news.

    You made Texas proud! R.I.P my Darling.

  31. stacy says:

    im crying :( i love patrick swayze! rip

  32. notprfect says:

    Oh no! :( R.I.P. Mr. Swayze!

  33. Lilith says:

    This is losing too much of my 80′s childhood…loved him in Ghost and Too Wong Foo..

  34. Zoe says:

    God, I was really dreading this news.

    My father died of this disease. It’s evil, and I don’t use that word lightly.

    I met Patrick Swayze once. Actually “met” is too strong a word. We were both (with a couple hundred other people) exiting a movie premier in Hollywood. And he was walking right next to me and when I looked over at him he just beamed this explosive smile at me and said “hi”. I still remember his energy, just from that simple exchange as so positive and open and simple. That’s just so damn rare and I’m truly saddened by this.

    I wish his family peace.

  35. I Choose Me says:

    Good journey Patrick. Thank you for the memories! And thank you Kaiser for those heart-warming clips. Oh, sniff, here I go with the tears.

  36. TaylorB says:

    Very sad, Pancreatic cancer is just horrible, it is one of the most painful forms of cancer. Poor guy. All my love to him (RIP) and his family.

    He was a trooper, knowing how awful and painful that disease is, he was very positive and pleasant throughout.

  37. Feebee says:

    Sadness :(

  38. Sarah says:

    RIP Patrick. I just don’t know what to say about this. I am in shock even though I knew about the seriousness of his disease. My heart goes out to his wife and family. I really adored him for his work and as a person. Why must always the good souls leave this place so early?

  39. the original kate says:

    that’s a shame. RIP, patrick.

  40. Dâmaris says:

    Descanse em paz mano tu brilhou demais

  41. Shelly says:

    I’m heartbroken about Patrick’s passing. He was my favorite actor, ever, and I can recite almost line for line in so many of his movies. My thoughts are with his family. He’s at peace now.

  42. Dâmaris says:

    Descanse em paz mano tu brilhou muito na telona.

  43. hunnybe says:

    I always loved Patrick Swayze.RIP.He was a wonderful actor and seemed to be a stand up guy over all.

  44. GrnMtGirl says:

    Too Sad. Patrick was an example for many people in how to conduct yourself in life, marriage, and through an illness.

    RIP Mr. Swayze

  45. lilred says:

    So sad…a real upstanding man…there will never be another one like him.

  46. buenavissta says:

    Thanks for the sweet tribute to a kind and classy man, Kaiser. So sad.
    Lilith, I feel my teen years dying off, too. I’m a little gobsmacked right now. And I feel old.

  47. Miss Wanderlust says:

    R.I.P. Mister Swayze, thank you for all your beautiful work, you where loved all over the world even in the Netherlands they rescheduled there programs so we can watch your great perfomances tonight ! My first introduction to you was in the mini serie “North & South” as Orry Main and after that many followed.

    Beautiful tribute Kaiser, loved the performance with his wife… condolences to her, his family and true friends.

  48. wow says:

    Damn, damn, damn. I’ll always remember him for Ghost (one of my favorite movies). Cancer is an ugly S.O.B.

  49. Daniel says:

    ok i’m just waiting for talk show hosts to start with the “now he’s a ghost for real” jokes. You know it’s coming!

  50. Goddess711 says:

    He was a good man and a great guy, I wish cancer would be more selective and go after douchebags only.
    Love the SNL with Patrick and Chris Farley doing Chippendale audition – priceless and Patrick looks HOTTTT!
    See you on the other side, Patrick!

  51. Skittles says:

    Vaya con Dios, Bohdi

  52. Nicole says:

    There has never been a man who looked as sexy dancing as he did in Dirty Dancing (and there never will).
    More important than his talent as an actor, he seemed like a genuinely grounded and warm person. He died far too soon, but I take comfort in knowing he lived a good life. Love to his wife and family. RIP

  53. JaundiceMachine says:

    Well written, Kaiser.

    My condolences to his family and friends – a genuinely talented actor and a very charismatic man.


  54. Linda says:

    Why can’t there be more actors like Patrick Swayze. I have never heard anyone say a bad word about him, there was never any scandal, he didn’t leave his wife for a hot young model, no rumors of drugs, no falling around drunk, no sex videos. When his star in Hollywood started to fade he lived his life quietly still working whether on stage, tv or in the movies. A beautiful spirit, a wonderful dancer, a class act all the way. My heart goes out to his wife and family. RIP Patrick.