Jennifer Grey, who co-starred in the romantic classic Dirty Dancing with Patrick Swayze, will never forget floating in his arms while shooting for the film. Patrick Swayze died Monday at the age of 57 after a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer.
“When I think of him, I think of being in his arms when we were kids, dancing, practicing the lift in the freezing lake, having a blast doing this tiny little movie we thought no one would ever see,” Grey said in a press statement after Swayze’s death on Monday.
Grey called Patrick Swayze a “real cowboy with a tender heart” and said he was a “rare and beautiful combination of raw masculinity and amazing grace… so it was not surprising to me that the war he waged on his cancer was so courageous and dignified.”
“My heart goes out to his wife and childhood sweetheart, Lisa Niemi, to his mom, Patsy, and to the rest of their family,” Grey said.
Swayze and Grey’s performances in Dirty Dancing catapulted both actors to stardom and the 1987 film became a romantic coming-of-age cult classic.
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 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.