Sept. 15, 2009 -- Actor Patrick Swayze died yesterday of pancreatic cancer.
Swayze, 57, died "peacefully" with his family at his side, Swayze's publicist, Annett Wolf, said in a statement published by the Associated Press.
Although Swayze's memorable movie roles in Dirty Dancing and Ghost ingratiated him into the hearts and minds of legions of fans, he will also be remembered for the awareness he helped raise about pancreatic cancer -- a rare, but stealthy disease.
Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2008. He is survived by his wife, actress/dancer Lisa Niemi.
"Patrick Swayze is a tremendous source of inspiration," Gagandeep Singh, MD, director of hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery at the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., previously told WebMD.
"He continued to work despite being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer,” Singh said. “We don’t want people to close the door when they are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.”
Although Swayze's pancreatic cancer was at stage IV when it was diagnosed in March 2008, he continued working on his television series, The Beast, completing all 13 episodes without the help of pain medications.
He opened up about his ordeal in a moving interview with Barbara Walters that aired in January. "You can bet that I'm going through hell," Swayze said. "And I've only seen the beginning of it."
Two days after that interview aired, Swayze checked himself into a hospital with pneumonia, where he recovered before going home.