Patrick Swayze, the hunky actor who danced his way into viewers’ hearts with Dirty Dancing and then broke them with Ghost died today after a battle with pancreatic cancer. 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,” said a statement released by his publicist, Annett Wolf. No other details were given.
Fans of the actor were saddened to learn in March 2008 that Swayze was suffering from a particularly deadly form of cancer.
He had kept working despite the diagnosis, putting together a memoir with his wife and shooting The Beast, an A&E drama series for which he had already made the pilot.
It drew a respectable 1.3 million viewers when the 13 episodes ran on the cable television station in 2009, but A&E said it had reluctantly decided not to renew it for a second season.
Swayze said he opted not to use painkilling drugs while making The Beast because they would have taken the edge off his performance. He acknowledged that time might be running out given the grim nature of the disease.
When he first went public with the illness, some reports gave him only weeks to live, but his doctor said his situation was “considerably more optimistic” than that.