Patrick Swayze, a three-time Golden Globe nominee and the star of such mega-hit films as Ghost and Dirty Dancing, has died today. He was 57.
After a long and publicized bout with pancreatic cancer, the actor's publicist, Annett Wolf, released a statement saying: "Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully today with family at his side after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months."
Swayze had been suffering from an extremely deadly form of cancer since at least March 2008, when he disclosed his illness to the public.
Says the L.A. Times: "He had kept working despite the diagnosis, putting together a memoir with his wife and shootingThe 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 in 2009, but A&E said it had reluctantly decided not to renew it for a second season."
According to reports, Swayze chose not to use painkillers while shooting The Beast, claiming they wouldn't allow him to deliver the best performance.
Initially, doctors gave Swayze only a few weeks to live. He outlived that prognosis but understood his limited time: "I'd say five years is pretty wishful thinking," Swayze told ABC's Barbara Walters in early 2009. "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."