Patrick Swayze, a romantic icon to a generation of young women, died on Monday at age 57 after losing his battle to pancreatic cancer.
The actor with dreamy good looks, who was best known for his role as the bad boy with dancing feet in cult classic Dirty Dancing, had been suffering quietly with the disease since 2008. Recently, Patrick had been responding well to treatment. In fact, he had been doing so well that he recently braved grueling 12-hour days to shoot his role as the lead FBI detective in A&E series The Beast. Although Swayze admitted to being exhausted after filming all day and performing his own stunts, he said that he wanted to play the role because the character “just felt right for my soul”.
Playing the lead Johnny Castle alongside Jennifer Grey in 1987’s Dirty Dancing made Swayze a household name, and an instant heartthrob to legions of fans both old and young. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find women who can’t quote the film line-for-line, including the famous “Nobody puts Baby in a corner!” moment. After Dirty Dancing catapulted him to success, Swayze’s star-meter only intensified thanks to outstanding lead performances in a wide range of films, including a romantic role in Ghost, a comedic lead in To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar, and a downright creepy (yet shockingly dynamic) performance in 2001’s Donnie Darko. In 1990, he told Entertainment Weekly: “”I don’t want to be Mr. Romantic Leading Man. I don’t want to be the Dance Dude. I don’t want to be the Action Guy. If I had to do any one of those all my life, it’d drive me crazy.” Whatever the role, Swayze’s performances were always impressive, going above-and-beyond the stereotype of the “hunky bad actor”.
Despite battling his pancreatic cancer for over 20, exhaustive months, the actor constantly remained positive, talking candidly to the media about his experiences with fatigue, thoughts on his own mortality, and experimentation with holistic treatments. Unfortunately, none of those treatments were able to save the star, who died all too soon. At the time of his death, legions of his celebrity friends and supporters released statements sharing their memories of the actor, while others such as Aston Kutcher took to Twitter to show their support. Indeed, Patrick Swayze quickly became a trending topic on Monday night, with many on Twitter pointing out the ways in which the actors’ roster of roles had impacted their lives.
Patrick Swayze is survived by his wife, Lisa, of over 30 years, and his mother. He was 57.
Enjoy Patrick Swayze’s the much-quoted, unforgettable moment of glory from classic Dirty Dancing below.
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