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Patrick Swayze Dies at 57 of Pancreatic Cancer, Defies Odds in 1.5-Year Public Battle

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CHICAGO – “Dirty Dancing,” “Ghost,” film, TV and dance icon Patrick Swayze died on Sept. 14, 2009 at 57 after a 1.5-year public battle with pancreatic cancer. He was in his Los Angeles home beside friends and family.

The legendary actor made no secret of his condition, wrote a memoir with his wife since he was diagnosed in Jan. 2008 and braved through filming of the TV crime drama “The Beast” while refusing to ingest painkillers so as not to derail his performance. He was noticeably thinner on “The Beast” and shooting was difficult on Swayze physically, but he persisted with his craft nonetheless.

Patrick Swayze in 1987's Dirty Dancing
Patrick Swayze in 1987’s “Dirty Dancing.
Photo credit: Vestron Pictures

In addition to “The Beast” as Swayze’s most recent and last project, he also starred in “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights,” “Power Blue,” “One Last Dance,” “Donnie Darko,” “Point Break,” “The Outsiders,” “Red Dawn,” “Road House,” “Ghost,” “Dirty Dancing,” “Youngblood” and “Skatetown, U.S.A.”. Living for 18 months with this extremely terminal form of cancer was rare, experts say.

“If you were to look at statistics, the prognosis that is given to most patients with metastatic cancer is usually three to six months,” Dr. Jeffrey Hardacre, an assistant professor of surgery at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and an attending surgeon at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, said in an interview with FOXNews.com on Monday.

The Houston-born Patrick Swayze, who is part Apache, married Lisa Niemi in 1975 and is the older brother of Don Swayze. Patrick Swayze met Lisa Niemi at the age of 19 when she was 15 while she attended dance lessons with Patsy Swayze (Patrick’s mother, who was a dance instructor). Patrick Wayne Swayze’s father, Jesse Wayne Swayze, died of a heart attack in 1982.

Swayze is survived by his wife of 34 years. In memoriam of Patrick Swayze, who lived from 1952 to 2009, we’ll leave you with this personal quote: “Good-looking people turn me off. Myself included.”

Read more celebrity obituaries on HollywoodChicago.com:
StarHeath Ledger dies at 28 on Jan. 22, 2008.
StarMichael Jackson dies at 50 on June 25, 2009.
StarPaul Newman dies at 83 on Sept. 28, 2008.
StarJohn Hughes dies at 59 on Aug. 6, 2009.
StarFarrah Fawcett dies at 62 on June 25, 2009.
StarSydney Pollack dies at 73 on May 26, 2008.
StarGeorge Carlin dies at 71 on June 23, 2008.
StarBernie Mac dies at 50 on Aug. 9, 2008.
StarAnthony Minghella dies at 54 on March 18, 2008.
StarCharlton Heston dies at 84 on April 6, 2008.
StarDeborah Kerr dies at 86 on Oct. 18, 2007.
StarMichael Crichton dies at 66 on Nov. 5, 2008.
StarDon LaFontaine dies at 66 on Sept. 4, 2008.
StarStan Winston dies at 62 on June 16, 2008.
StarSuzanne Pleshette dies at 70 on Jan. 20, 2008.
StarArthur C. Clarke dies at 90 on March 19, 2008.
StarJett Travolta dies at 16 on Jan. 3, 2009.

HollywoodChicago.com editor-in-chief and publisher Adam Fendelman


© 2009 Adam Fendelman, HollywoodChicago.com LLC

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