On this day: Patrick Swayze dies after harrowing cancer battle

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·News Reporter
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Patrick Swayze will always be known for his role as Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing, James Dalton in Road House and Sam Wheat in Ghost.

His iconic status in the film industry is one that still stands today. Sadly, on this day in 2009, Patrick Swayze passed away.

Rising to stardom

Texas-born Patrick Swayze had a love of performance from a very young age. Whilst in grade school, Swayze developed a love for ballet about which his peers often teased him.

During school, he chose to focus on athletics, before leaving college early to pursue his passion of performance - where he starred as Snow White’s Prince Charming in a tour with the Disney on Parade ice show.

Patrick Swayze on screen at the Oscars. Source: Reuters
Swayze's love for ballet came from his mother, who taught him how to dance. Source: Reuters

In 1976, at age 24, Swayze made his Broadway debut in a show called Goodtime Charley, which started a short Broadway career in which he appeared in an on-stage adaptation of West Side Story.

His Broadway career was short lived, however, as his high-profile on-stage performance as Danny in the Grease show led to multiple TV and movie offers.

Swayze then went on to star in roller disco musical Skatetown USA in 1979, and his career soared from there.

High profile career

From his romantic characters in Dirty Dancing and Ghost to his tough-guy leads in Road House and Point Break, and his charming family-friendly appearances in Christmas in Wonderland and The Fox and The Hound 2 - Patrick Swayze could do it all.

Patrick Swayze and his wife Lisa at a red carpet event. Source: Reuters
Patrick Swayze was in high demand during his acting career. Source: Reuters

His most notable movie Dirty Dancing grossed $214.6 million at the box office, while Ghost grossed $505,702,588.

In his final role before his death, Swayze starred as an FBI Agent named Charles Barker in an FBI drama called The Beast.

An untimely passing

Patrick Swayze was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in the early months of 2008. He undertook over a year of treatment including experimental drugs and chemotherapy.

After 20 months of battling pancreatic cancer, Patrick Swayze passed away on September 14, 2009, at the age of 57.

Flowers, candles, a DVD of the film Dirty Dancing on Patrick Swayze's start on Hollywood Walk of Fame. Source: Reuters
Fans flocked to Swayze's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to pay tribute after his death. Source: Reuters

His friends and family described him in his final moments as appearing "emaciated" and ‘weak’.

Reportedly, Swayze’s last words were spoken to his wife Lisa Niemi. He told her: “I love you”.


Following his death, Patrick Swayze’s legacy lives on. A fan club, which is still operating, regularly posts nostalgic photos of Swayze and raises money for pancreatic cancer research.

Making its debut a whopping 10 years after his death, a biographical film called I am Patrick Swayze has become Paramount Network’s most-watched special, whilst Dirty Dancing continues to be named one of the most popular movies of all time.

Whilst Patrick Swayze is no longer with us, his immortalisation in film, alongside his fans’ willingness to pay tribute to his memory, Swayze will surely never be forgotten.

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