Patrick Swayze was a true icon of the 1980s and '90s whose legacy lives on today. The multitalented actor, dancer, and singer earned himself a significant following with hit 1987 film Dirty Dancing and later titles such as Ghost and Road House.
The well-liked star was even crowned People's Sexiest Man Alive in 1991, and he continued with popular film and TV roles into the 21st century. But in 2008, Swayze was dealt a devastating blow in the form of a stage-IV pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
Patrick Swayze: His Battle with Pancreatic Cancer
Only in his mid-50s, Swayze had begun to experience burning in his stomach while filming The Beast, an A&E crime show that became his final TV role. He underwent testing and in January 2008 learned of the pancreatic cancer diagnosis, for which he received chemotherapy and treatment.
Throughout 2008, Swayze's health was the subject of conflicting reports among health professionals, the star himself, and ruthless tabloids. Outlets reported that he was near death, but doctors and Swayze felt he was responding well to treatment. The star even appeared on a Stand Up to Cancer TV fundraiser in late 2008, while rejecting reports that the cancer had spread to his liver.
Sadly, Swayze's cancer battle went tragically downhill in 2009. That January, he was hospitalized with pneumonia. Three months later, he was informed the cancer had spread to his liver. Swayze then passed away on Sept. 14, 2009, after a 20-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
Patrick Swayze: This Was His Cause of Death
On the day of the star's death, his publicist released a statement. It read: "Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully today with family at his side after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months." The Beast became Swayze's final TV role, while 2009 film Powder Blue was his last project to hit the big screen.
Swayze was survived by his wife of 34 years, Lisa Niemi, and his mother, Patsy, who later passed away in 2013. Fans continue to enjoy his diverse body of work to this day. Posthumous honours for the actor included the 2009 Rolex Dance Award and a Lifetime Achievement award from the Houston Film Critics Society, located in his birth city.