LOS ANGELES, California- Patrick Swayze, whose good looks and sympathetic performances in films such as "Dirty Dancing" and "Ghost" made him a romantic idol to millions, died Monday. He was 57. Swayze died of pancreatic cancer, his publicist, Annett Wolf, told CNN.
Swayze's doctor, Dr. George Fisher, revealed in early March 2008 that Swayze was suffering from the disease. "Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully today with family at his side after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months," Wolf said in a statement Monday.
Most recently, Swayze starred in A&E Network's "The Beast," which debuted in January. He agreed to take the starring role of an undercover FBI agent before his diagnosis. The network agreed to shoot an entire season of the show after Swayze responded well to his cancer treatment.
In an interview with ABC's Barbara Walters in January, Swayze said his work on that show was exhausting, requiring 12-hour workdays in Chicago, Illinois, doing his own stunts. But he said the show's character "just felt right for my soul." If I leave this Earth, I want to leave this Earth just knowing I've tried to give something back and tried to do something worthwhile with myself," Swayze told Walters, when asked why he decided to do the show. "And that keeps me going, that gets me up in the morning. My work ... is my legacy."
"The Beast" was canceled in June because of Swayze's illness, after doctors told him the cancer had spread to his liver. "We are saddened by the loss of one of our generation's greatest talents and a member of the A&E family," a statement from the network said. "Patrick's work on 'The Beast' was an inspiration to us all. He will be greatly missed and our thoughts are with his wife, Lisa, and his entire family during this difficult time."
Swayze was mostly known for a handful of supporting roles when he broke through with his performance as dance instructor Johnny Castle in 1987's "Dirty Dancing." Co-star Jennifer Grey, who played his young lover, Baby Houseman, in the film, described Swayze as "gorgeous and strong." "Patrick was a rare and beautiful combination of raw masculinity and amazing grace. ... He was a real cowboy with a tender heart. He was fearless and insisted on always doing his own stunts, so it was not surprising to me that the war he waged on his cancer was so courageous and dignified," Grey said in a statement Monday.
Three years after "Dirty Dancing," he became an even bigger star with "Ghost," in which he played an investment banker who dies and learns to tap into his unspoken feelings for his partner (Demi Moore). The film won Whoopi Goldberg an Oscar and helped make him People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" in 1991. "Patrick was a really good man, a funny man and one to whom I owe much that I can't ever repay," Goldberg said in a statement. "I believe in 'Ghost's' message, so he'll always be near."
Swayze told Entertainment Weekly in 1990 that "the movies that have had the most powerful effects on my life have been about romantic characters." He expanded on the effort he put into love scenes for People in 1991. "It's possibly the scariest thing I do," he said, "doing something so personal and giving people out there the opportunity to see if you're a good kisser or not."
Patrick Wayne Swayze was born on August 18, 1952, in Houston, Texas. His father was an engineering draftsman; his mother was a ballet dancer and later the director of the Houston Ballet Dance Company. Swayze's career diminished in the late '90s. He broke both legs in 1997 while making a film, "Letters From a Killer," and went into rehab to overcome an admitted drinking problem.
In 2000, he was flying in his own twin-engine plane when the plane depressurized; Swayze landed in a housing development in Arizona. Though some witnesses say he appeared intoxicated, he was later revealed to have been suffering from hypoxia, related to the depressurization and his three-pack-a-day cigarette habit. Swayze re-established his knack for picking sleepers with "Donnie Darko" (2001), the dark film about a troubled student that became a sensation on video. Swayze played a creepy motivational speaker and won raves for his performance.
Swayze's more recent films included a TV version of "King Solomon's Mines" and 2007's "Christmas in Wonderland." Though he still had the power to make women's hearts flutter -- 22-year-old Scarlett Johansson, upon receiving Harvard's Hasty Pudding Award in February 2007, said her dream date was "probably Patrick Swayze, my dream come true" -- Swayze wasn't too impressed with himself. "Good-looking people turn me off," he once said. "Myself included."
Swayze is survived by his wife, Lisa, of over 30 years and his mother, Patsy.
Damn This year is going to be hard on all us 80's fans. Another Icon gone too soon.
Posted by Booger (Member # 4569) on :
This was terrible news. I watched Road House last night to ease the pain.
Posted by sheena (Member # 5620) on :
I know, it's soo sad! He was such a icon..He will forever be loved & cherished by his fans. R.I.P Patrick! I don't know why in these last couple of months, we lost all these great 80's icons. First Farrah, then Micheal, John & now Patrick.. can't beleive it.
Posted by buffalo-girl (Member # 7498) on :
we watched roadhouse last night i still can't believe he is gone? so sad!!!
Posted by jdocster McFly you Irish bug (Member # 5752) on :
Can't find the words... What a fighter, what a star, what a talent...
Posted by TNUC (Member # 3594) on :
For a SWAYZE Mini-Tribute and a mix-tape to download of Swayze-esque classic tunes, check this out: