Patrick Swayze Dies After Battle With Cancer

Patrick Swayze, who danced his way to heartthrob status with the hit Dirty Dancing, died Monday after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 57.

Swayze’s publicist Annett Wolf says the actor died with family at his side. He came forward about his illness last spring, but continued working as he underwent treatments.

Vaulted to star status in 1987 with his performance in Dirty Dancing, a coming-of-age story set in a Catskills resort, Swayze enjoyed a varied Hollywood career. The 1990 film Ghost, in which he played a murdered man in the afterlife trying to re-connect with his fiancee, cemented his role as a crush-worthy leading man.

Before that, Swayze lit up the screen in a series of roles playing rugged young toughs, first in 1983’s The Outsiders, Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of the 1967 book, and then in 1984’s Red Dawn, the alternate-reality war movie about a Soviet invasion of the United States.

But it was Dirty Dancing that provided him with perhaps his greatest line: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

Swayze kept on working even after it was disclosed in March 2008 that he had a particularly deadly form of cancer. He has also said he and his wife were working on a memoir.

Most recently, he starred in The Beast, an A&E drama series that began in January, drawing positive reviews. Before the series started, Swayze was the subject of a one-hour “Barbara Walters Special” on ABC, talking about his fight with cancer. 

“I keep my heart and my soul and my spirit open to miracles,” he told Walters. But he said he was not going to pursue every experimental treatment that came along. If he were to “spend so much time chasing staying alive,” he said, he wouldn’t be able to enjoy the time he had left. “I want to live.”