Patrick Swayze died today after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Patrick Swayze

Patrick Swayze
August 18, 1952 – September 14, 2009

Actor Patrick Swayze died today of pancreatic cancer. He had announced his diagnosed in March 2008. Even as he struggled to deal with the deadly diagnosis, Swayze continued his career. He completed a season of the A&E drama, ‘The Beast’, talked with Barbara Walters about his disease and prognosis in early 2009 and worked on a memoir with his wife, Lisa Niemi.

The family issued the following statement earlier this evening.

“Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully today with family at his side after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months,” said a statement released Monday evening by his publicist, Annett Wolf. No other details were given.

Swayze is best known for his 1987 movie ‘Dirty Dancing’ with Jennifer Grey and his 1990 movie ‘Ghost’ with Demi Moore. He also played a drag queen in the 1995 Steven Spielberg film ‘To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar’. He also starred in a number of other films over the years. His films were generally trashed by critics, but were popular with his fans.

Swayze was born on August 18, 1952 in Houston, Texas. He was interested both football and ballet, both of which prepared him for his journey in show business. An old football injury made it difficult for him to pursue a dancing career and so he turned to acting. His father was Jesse Swayze, an alcoholic who died in 1982. His mother, Patsy Swayze, was a choreographer who worked on dance sequences in John Travolta’s ‘Urban Cowboy’.

He met his wife, Lisa Niemi, when she took dance lessons from Patsy Swayze. He was 19-years-old and she was 15-years-old. They married in 1975.

Swayze is survived by his wife, mother, two brothers (including actor Don Swayze) and sister Bambi Swayze.

Even for those of us who are not big fans of hollywood and actors in general, Patrick Swayze was hard not to like. His attitude following his diagnosis was admirable. He was open and brutally honest about his prognosis. He pursued treatment and undoubtedly hoped for a miracle of some sort, but seemed to accept that he had been dealt this hand and had to play it. He talked about living life, rather than trying to outrun death and that going to work kept his attitude positive. He worked as long as he could.

Rest in Peace, Patrick Swayze. Thanks for the entertainment.

Patrick Swayze 4 Patrick Swayze 3 Patrick Swayze 2 Patrick Swayze 1

Patrick Swayze with wife Lisa Niemi – Photos

Dirty Dancing, ‘She’s Like The Wind’ – Music Video

Ghost, ‘Unchained Melody’ – Music Video

Rachel Worth / WENN
Nikki Nelson/ WENN
Vince Maher / WENN