Dirty Dancing Star Patrick Swayze Dead at 57

Patrick Swayze died Monday at the age of 57 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. The Dirty Dancing star never gave up on his love of acting or life, filming for his A&E series The Beast even while undergoing chemotherapy.

Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing
Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing

“Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully today with family at his side after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months,” the actor’s publicist said in a press statement.

Swayze grew up dancing in his mother’s studio, where he met his future wife of 32 years, Lisa Niemi. Swayze’s first break-through role was in 1983’s The Outsiders, but his stardom was truly secured with his lead role in 1987’s Dirty Dancing.

Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year and announced in January that doctors had told him he might only have two years left to live. Even though his battle with cancer left him sick and weak, Patrick Swayze never gave up hope. Last fall, he told the New York Times “there’s more I want to do. Lots more.”

“I’d say five years is pretty wishful thinking,” Swayze told Barbara Walters in an interview earlier this year. “Two years seems likely if you’re going to believe statistics. I want to last until they find a cure, which means I’d better get a fire under it.”

Fire it up he did, signing on to star in A&E’s crime-drama The Beast even while suffering the debilitating effects of chemotherapy. Although the show was cancelled after only one season, it will always remain as a final legacy to Swayze’s determination to suck the marrow out of life right until the end.