Patrick and the swayzes

  • Patrick Swayze was married to his wife, Lisa Niemi, for 34 years before he died on September 14, 2009 after living with pancreatic cancer.
  • In her 2011 memoir, Worth Fighting For, Lisa revealed the last words she exchanged with Patrick before the Dirty Dancing star’s untimely death.
  • Ten years after his death, Paramount Network is airing a new documentary I Am Patrick Swayze on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET. Lisa is one of many who will be a part of the film.

It’s hard to imagine that September 14 will mark 10 years since the world said goodbye to renowned actor Patrick Swayze. The Dirty Dancing and Ghost star died in 2009 after battling pancreatic cancer for 20 months.

While fighting the disease, his wife of 34 years, Lisa Niemi, was by his side. As she penned in her 2011 memoir, Worth Fighting For, the actor spoke his final words to her Friday evening and died the following Monday morning.

“My last words to Patrick? ‘I love you,’ and those were his last words to me. After I brought him home, things went very fast,” she wrote. Lisa went on to say that Patrick slipped into a full coma soon after.

Patrick and Lisa in Los Angeles, California in October 1979. Fotos International

“I cherished our time alone, holding his hand, listening to music, sleeping with my arm around him, my head on his shoulder, wordlessly.”

She went on: “In the quiet of Monday morning, September 14, I looked at his face and listened to the tiny sips of air he was taking. There was something delicate, childlike about it. I knew it was time.”

Recently, Lisa spoke to Entertainment Tonight about what life was like with her late husband. The two met as teens when Lisa was taking dance lessons from Patrick’s mother, Patsy. As Lisa puts it, “the first time Buddy and I danced together was at a school exhibition. We walked out on stage. I looked in his eyes, it was like everything came alive.”

Although her beloved husband is gone physically, Lisa says he’s still very much with her.

Lisa will appear on Paramount Network’s new documentary I Am Patrick Swayze on Sunday, August 18, which would’ve marked Patrick’s 67th birthday.

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Kayla Keegan News and Entertainment Editor Kayla Keegan covers all things in the entertainment, pop culture, and celebrity space for Good Housekeeping.

Patrick Swayze’s Tragic Family History

Patrick Swayze (†57) won the hearts of ladies everywhere starring in the cult film Dirty Dancing. He not only made Baby (Jennifer Grey) feel hot under the collar as Johnny, but cinema audiences as well. The 1987 film was a huge success and Swayze was even nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance.

Life wasn’t always easy for the handsome heartthrob though. When his father passed away in 1982, Swayze fell into a deep depression and sought solace at the bottom of numerous bottles.

Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing (© Imago / Imago)

Patrick Swayze’s sister committed suicide

Patrick Swayze’s sister Vicky died of an overdose in 1994, giving him a huge wake-up call and he decided to check himself into rehab. It was a great success and Swayze did not touch a drop of alcohol from then onwards. His wife Lisa Niemi was his rock. They got married in 1975 and she recently declared her love for the late actor on Twitter, posting this moving statement, “Celebrating Patrick’s B’day today. He was so full of adventure & unafraid to embrace life. And always ready to take chances! He was never going to live in the shadows. He was a bright light, so bright that it still dazzles! Love you, always, & forever, my darling man”.

Celebrating Patrick’s B’day today. He was so full of adventure & unafraid to embrace life. And always ready to take chances! He was never going to live in the shadows. He was a bright light, so bright that it still dazzles! Love you, always, & forever, my darling man.

— Lisa Niemi Swayze (@LisaNiemiSwayze) 18. August 2018

Patrick Swayze’s battle against cancer

Patrick Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2008. The actor underwent a course of chemotherapy and, at first, it appeared as if the aggressive treatment were working.

However, just twenty months after the terrible diagnosis, Patrick lost his battle against the disease. He died on 14th September 2009 with his family by his side at his horse ranch. His wife-of-thirty-four years, Lisa, was left devastated.

She remarried in 2014 and now lives happily with her new husband Albert DePrisco, who works as a jeweler. We are sure that she will never forget her first big love, Patrick.

He exhibited similar emotional intensity in the supernatural romance “Ghost” (1990), an enormous box-office hit. His character, a loft-living yuppie banker, is murdered early in the film and spends the rest of it as a spirit, desperately trying to communicate with his fiancée (Demi Moore) with the help of a psychic (Whoopi Goldberg). The film, which also showcased his physical grace, solidified his stardom.

Mr. Swayze was proud of “Ghost,” as he told The San Francisco Chronicle in 1990. “I needed to do something that will affect the audience in a positive way, make them feel better about their lives and appreciate what they have,” he said.

Patrick Wayne Swayze was born on Aug. 18, 1952, in Houston, the son of Jesse Wayne Swayze, an engineer and rodeo cowboy, and Patsy Swayze, a dance instructor and choreographer. He began dancing as a child and was often teased about it. But he was also a student athlete, and his dancing career was hampered by a football injury.

After attending San Jacinto, a community college in Texas, Mr. Swayze moved to New York to study dance, becoming a member of Eliot Feld Ballet. He made his Broadway debut in 1975 as a dancer in “Goodtime Charley” and was cast in the original Broadway production of “Grease,” taking over the lead role. (He returned to Broadway almost three decades later, filling in as the razzle-dazzle lawyer Billy Flynn in “Chicago” in 2003.)

He made his screen debut in “Skatetown, U.S.A.” (1979), a roller-disco movie starring Scott Baio. Looking back on that film, he told the Toronto newspaper The Globe and Mail in 1984, “I saw that with not too much trouble I could become a teenybopper star, but I knew if I accepted that, it would take years to win credibility as a serious actor.”

Inside Lisa Niemi and Albert DePrisco’s Wedding

Donna Newman

Lisa Niemi was ready to move on.

It had been more than four years since her husband Patrick Swayze died of pancreatic cancer in 2009 and she was happily dating jeweler Albert DePrisco, whom she had met through mutual friends.

“I have to say, that the love I have for Patrick was never in conflict or competition with my feelings for Albert,” she tells PEOPLE. “That is until Albert asked me to marry him!”

Niemi says accepting the proposal was “a leap of faith” despite making her question whether or not she could spend her life with someone else.

“I found myself grappling with my feelings of having been married to Patrick for 34 years! Privately, I flipped, I flopped. Yes, get married, no, don’t get married,” she says.

“Albert knew I still loved Patrick and would always love him, and told me, ‘and I know you love me, and I love you.’ How could I not marry this man? As I had time to process the change my life was going to take, my doubts became less and less, and I became more and more sure.”

On Sunday, Niemi walked down the aisle and said “I do” to DePrisco before more than 50 family and friends.

“I could say that it’s Albert’s heart, his generosity, his personal strength, and his sense of fun, as some of the reasons why I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, and they would be true,” she says.

Her wedding ring is a cushion-cut diamond eternity band and she has a second band that matches DePrisco’s. “It’s one that I can work horses in, swim in, fly in. It’ll probably be the one I wear most,” she adds. “I guess I’ll have to put them all on a rotating schedule!”

Image zoom The dance Donna Newman

At their reception, the bride and groom, both 58, performed a dance that DePrisco’s sister, Deirdre, who is a professional ballroom dancer, choreographed.

“Albert was concerned about looking good in the dance, but he has natural rhythm, and is a great mover – much more so than he knows!” Niemi, a dancer, author and producer, says.

“I knew, though, that if we just looked into each other’s eyes and danced with our hearts, all would be well. The dance was a blast. And we got quite a bit of applause! It was so fun to share it.”

As for Swayze, Niemi believes he would be happy for her and the new love that she’s found.

RELATED: Lisa Niemi Weds Albert DePrisco

“About a month and a half ago, I had a dream about Patrick,” she says.

“It was like he was giving me his blessing and letting me know it was okay. Again, it can be hard sometimes to take those steps forward, but it doesn’t change the way we feel about someone. He was letting me know that.”

Now the only future she sees is one full of happiness with DePrisco. “It’s probably the number one reason I married him,” she says. “How could that be? But I’m willing to step into that future.”

For more exclusive photos and details from inside Niemi’s wedding, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

PHOTOS: Patrick Swayze: A Talented Heartthrob Remembered

Lisa Niemi and Patrick Swayze had one of the most romantic and enduring relationships in Hollywood.

The pair first met in 1975 in Texas at Patrick’s mum’s dance studio. They were married for 34 years, until Patrick’s untimely death in 2009.

Their fairytale romance was at times idyllic, but the couple had their ups and downs. In 2003 the pair separated for a year because Patrick developed a drinking problem. The couple managed to overcome this difficult time, and after Patrick was released from rehab, they were reunited.

Reflecting on her marriage to Patrick, Lisa stated, “No relationship is perfect, you hang in there and you don’t give up. And of course you are going to have bad times. I would be with Patrick a million times over if I could — warts and all.”

A few months after Patrick lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, Lisa gave a talk in California. Speaking about her grief with 14,000 women who had gathered to hear her speak, she opened up about her biggest regret from her marriage to the star.

“My regret is that I didn’t tell him that I loved him enough over that entire 34 years” Niemi confessed.

This heartbreaking confession is a testament to how much Lisa loved her husband, and is a small insight into how the soul mates had such a strong marriage.

“We told each other we loved each other over and over again,” Lisa said in an interview with The Times a few months later. “I never left the room without telling him. It still didn’t feel like enough.”

  • Patrick Swayze, best known for films such as Dirty Dancing and Road House, passed away at age 57 in 2009, following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
  • While discussing a new documentary about his life, I Am Patrick Swayze, his widow Lisa Niemi opened up to Entertainment Tonight about their relationship and his legacy.

One of Hollywood’s most beloved, Patrick Swayze left his mark on the entertainment industry thanks to iconic films such as Dirty Dancing, not to mention cult classics like To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. But at 57, the actor lost his battle to pancreatic cancer.

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Now, his widow Lisa Niemi has opened up about his legacy and their relationship just days before the August 18 release of a new documentary about his life, I Am Patrick Swayze. They got married in 1975, and adorably met as teenagers, when Niemi turned to his mother for dance lessons.

“The first time Buddy and I danced together was at a school exhibition,” Neimi says in the documentary, according to ET. “We walked out on stage…I looked in his eyes, it was like everything came alive.”

Addressing his cancer battle, she told ET, “It’s the worst thing in the world to go through.” She continued, “You spend every day fighting for that person’s life. I know that he spent every day fighting for his own…He survived 22 months, which was miraculous with the diagnosis that he received.”

Images PressGetty Images

“When you lose someone, you never stop loving them and it’s—I feel like I have a different relationship with him now,” she said, addressing the fact that they briefly split. “It’s just, he’s not physically present, you know what I mean?”

Watch the trailer for I Am Patrick Swayze below, which features interviews from close friends and co-stars like Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, and Jennifer Grey, his Dirty Dancing co-star.

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Patrick Swayze Biography

Patrick Wayne Swayze famed as Patrick Swayze was an American actor, singer, dancer, and songwriter. He was best known for his role in ‘Ghost’, ‘Dirty Dancing’. He is known to his friends and family as Buddy or Little Buddy. In the year 1991, he was given the title of being the Sexiest man alive. Also, due to his good looks and features, he was considered a teen idol and sex symbol. He wrote and recorded the popular song “She’s Like the Wind”, and was posthumously awarded the Rolex Dance Award in 2009. Overall, he was a very talented person.

Patrick Swayze’s widow Lisa Niemi opens up about life with the actor

Swayze will soon be seen in “I Am Patrick Swayze,” a new documentary about his life made by the late actor’s wife, Lisa Niemi. The actor’s widow spoke with Entertainment Tonight ahead of the movie’s release. Niemi discussed Swayze’s career and his 2009 death at the age of 57 following a battle with pancreatic cancer. “It’s the worst thing in the world to go through,” Niemi said of Swayze’s cancer fight. “You spend every day fighting for that person’s life. I know that he spent every day fighting for his own … He survived 22 months, which was miraculous with the diagnosis that he received.” She describes how the two met as teenagers when Niemi was taking dance lessons from Swayze’s mother. They married in 1975 and remained together until he died. “The first time Buddy (her nickname for Swayze) and I danced together was at a school exhibition,” Niemi said. “We walked out on stage. I looked in his eyes, it was like everything came alive.” Neimi also takes a look at Swayze’s struggles with alcohol and their separation for a time before he was diagnosed with cancer.

Death (14th September 2009) of Patrick

Patrick died on 14th September 2009. The reason for his death is due to pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed in the year 2007 when he was shooting for The Beast. He was 57 years old at the time of his death. He was discovered stage IV pancreatic cancer in March 2008. He remained very much optimistic about his life and he continued his film career. He worked in the A&E series ‘The Beast’ where he portrayed the role of FBI veteran and a loose cannon, Charles Barker. Unfortunately, he died after struggling 20 months of battling his illness and left the world on 14th September 2009.

Early Life of Patrick Swayze

Patrick Swayze was born on 8th August 1952, in Houston, Texas as Patrick Wayne Swayze. His nationality is American and his ethnicity is Mixed. is mother’s name was Patsy Swayze and his father’s name was Jesse Wayne Swayze. His mother was a choreographer and she had her own dance school in Houston where Patrick was a student. His father was a chemical plant engineer draftsman. He had a sister named Vicky and she committed suicide by an overdose of drinking. Patrick completed his graduation from Waltrip High School in Houston and later he joined San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas. His religion is Buddhism.

Body Measurements of Patrick Swayze

Patrick is a very hot actor with a sexy body. He has got a very charming smile on his lips attracting a lot of people towards him. He had a height of 5 ft. 11 inches and he weighed 77 kg before his demise. He had dark brown color hair and light brown eyes. His other body measurements will be added soon.

Career of Patrick Swayze

  • His first professional appearance was as a dancer for the Disney Theatrical Group in a show called Disney on Parade.
  • He then made his acting a career debut from ‘Skatetown USA’ in 1979.
  • He appeared in the poignant M*A*S*H episode Blood Brothers in 1981.
  • Later he performed as a dance instructor Jonny Castle in the film ‘Dirty Dancing’ in 1987.
  • He earned a nomination for his song in the movie ‘She’s like the wind’, and the song became top 10 and it has been covered by several artists.
  • He made his remarkable appearance in the American romantic fantasy thriller film ‘Ghost’ in 1990 and he was named as ‘The Sexiest man alive’ by People Magazine after a year.
  • He starred with his wife Lisa in the fictional dance movie ‘One Last Dance’ in 1993.
  • Unfortunately, he broke his both legs during the filming of HBO’s ‘Letters from the Killer’ in 1998.
  • He fell down from the horse and hit a tree.
  • His other remarkable work includes ‘City of Joy’ in 1992, ‘Tall Tale’ in 1995, ‘Black Dog’ in 1998 and ‘Walking Up in Reno’ in 2002.
  • He played the leading role in ‘Billy Flynn’ in December 2003.
  • In 2004, he played Allan Quatermain in King Solomon’s Mines and had a cameo appearance in the Dirty Dancing prequel Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights as an unnamed dance instructor.
  • He made his debut in London’s West End in the musical Guys and Dolls as Nathan Detroit on July 27, 2006.
  • He also provided the voice for Cash the country music band dog in The Fox and the Hound 2 (2006), and in 2007 he starred in the film Christmas in Wonderland.
  • He played an aging rock star in Powder Blue (2008).
  • He starred as FBI Agent Charles Barker in the A&E FBI drama The Beast.

Awards of Patrick Swayze

Patrick was an award-winning actor. He had been awarded Aftonbladet TV Prize, Sweden for the category The Best Foreign TV Personality-Male in 1998, BMI Film and TV Awards for the Dirty Dancing in 1989, Bravo Otto for Best Actor in 1988 and 1989. And several other awards and nominations are in his name list.

Net Worth of Patrick Swayze

Patrick was a very successful actor and his career has paid him a lot of fortune. He had a net worth of around $14 million as of 2019 but his exact salary has not been revealed yet but it will be added soon. His main source of earnings was from his acting and musical career.

Marital Status, Wife, Children

Patrick Swayze was a married person and he had been married to beautiful actress Lisa Anne Haapaniemi Swayze DePrisco. The couple tied the knot on 12th June 1975. They met for the first time in his mother’s dancing school. They could not give birth to a single child. It was heard that in the early period of their marriage, Lisa was pregnant but they were not able to spawn a child.

What Was Patrick Swayze’s Net Worth At the Time of His Death?

It’s been a decade since the passing of Patrick Swayze. The actor, dancer, and singer, who starred in a number of blockbusters including Ghost alongside Demi Moore and Dirty Dancing alongside Jennifer Grey, was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in January 2008 and died on Sept. 14, 2009.

To this day, Swayze’s fans still have questions and want to know as much as they can about the late star. Here’s some more information about him including if he was married, had children, and what his net worth was at the time of his death.

Patrick Swazye | Catherine McGann/Getty Images

Was Swayze married and did he have kids?

Swayze was married at the time of his death. His widow is Lisa Niemi and they were married for 34 years. The couple met in 1970 when Niemi took dance lessons at Swayze’s mother’s ballet school.

“I knew she was the smartest chick I’d ever met in my life,” the actor told People in 2007.

The pair began dating and tied the knot on June 12, 1975.

They did not have any children together. Swayze admitted that they had hoped to have kids someday after Niemi suffered a miscarriage on Valentine’s Day in 1990, however, it wasn’t in the cards for them.

“We just missed our window; we got so focused on our world and our careers that we missed the boat,” he said.

In another interview, Swayze revealed that Niemi was the inspiration for his song “She’s like the wind.”

Remembering a wonderful man 2day & what would have been our 44th anniversary. Use 2 b these events laid-me-out for weeks. But this afternoon I feel melancholy, but full of luv & celebration 4 what we had & what still lies in our hearts. Love doesn’t die. He still makes me smile.

— Lisa Niemi Swayze (@LisaNiemiSwayze) June 12, 2019

“I just felt at that time that I’m very, very lucky to have a woman who thinks I hung the moon,” he gushed.

Before his death, Niemi would visit her husband often while he worked on The Beast. She also directed him in an April 9, 2009 episode of the A&E show.

“He was fantastic. He had challenges because he was still doing chemo and it wasn’t always easy, but he’d suit up and show up. He was always there,” she said. “He treated me like he was honored to show up on my set.”

Niemi was by Swayze’s side when he died and she was later became the Chief Ambassador of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

In 2013, she got engaged to a jeweler named Albert DePrisco. They said “I do” the following year.

What was Swayze’s net worth?

Swayze was in the business for nearly four decades and many of his performances on the big screen are unforgettable.

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the times of our lives… #oscarthrowback #patrick #patrickswayze #dirtydancing #80s #thetimeofourlives

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He made his film debut in the 1979 flick Skatetown, U.S.A. From there he appeared in The Outsiders, Red Dawn, Ghost, Dirty Dancing, and Point Break, to name a few.

Jennifer Grey, who co-starred with him first in Red Dawn as well, spoke about how much fun they had on the set of their second movie together.

“When I think of him, I think of being in his arms when we were kids, dancing, practicing the lift in the freezing lake, having a blast doing this tiny little movie we thought no one would ever see,” she told Us Weekly.

Swayze also has several television roles on shows like The Comeback Kid, and the North and South miniseries. He received three Golden Globe Award nominations in his career.

At the time of his death, Swayze had a net worth of $40 million.

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Young Love

How fitting is it that Lisa Niemi’s love story with Dirty Dancing leading man, Patrick Swayze began at a dance school? Having developed a passion for dance at a young age, Texas native Lisa Niemi enrolled in dance lessons at the Houston Ballet Dance Company.

Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images

The dance studio was run by none other than Swayze’s mother, Patsy. With Patsy as her ballet teacher, Niemi was introduced to Swayze when she was just 15 years old and he was just 19 years old. Though Swayze’s mother proved to play a significant role in the actor’s life, having basically played cupid for him, she wasn’t always the most positive source of light.

An Undeniable Connection

Despite meeting at such a young age, both Swayze and Niemi knew there was something special about the other. Niemi recalled the first time they danced together at a school exhibition, saying, “We walked out on stage. I looked in his eyes, it was like everything came alive.”

Ron Galella,Ltd./Contributor/Getty Images

Their undeniable connection wasn’t one-sided, however. Recalling some of their first moments together, Swayze told People magazine in 2007, “I knew she was the smartest chick I’d ever met in my life. , I had been meeting girls with names like Mimi and Angel.” But while their connection was immediate, it took time for Swayze to win Niemi over.

A for Effort

It’s hard to imagine an eligible bachelor like Patrick Swayze having to try hard – or even try at all, for that matter – to win a woman over. But as it turns out, Lisa Niemi wasn’t like the other girls who threw themselves at the heart throb.

Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images

Swayze’s tricks didn’t work on Niemi, and he said, “If I started putting on a pose or doing my Casanova routine, Lisa would turn around and not say anything.” He added, “She didn’t buy any of my nonsense. We spent half our dates in total silence as she wouldn’t talk to me if she thought I was putting on an act.” How, then, was the Dirty Dancing star able to capture Niemi’s heart in the same way he captured all of America’s hearts?

The Start Of Something New

It wasn’t Swayze’s goofiness – or even his swoon-worthy moves on the dance floor – that won over Niemi in the end. As Swayze admitted to People magazine, it took having serious conversations to get the ballet dancer to take him seriously.

Peter Timmullstein bild via Getty Images

Swayze recalled, “As soon as I opened up about what I wanted from life, she would answer me.” Soon enough, five years after their initial meeting, the two wed on June 12, 1975. Swayze and Niemi exchanged vows in Niemi’s Houston backyard and held the reception at Patsy’s dance studio, where they first met. Throughout their marriage, Niemi would prove to uphold her promise, “til death do us part” by remaining by her husband’s side through thick and thin. But little did she know just how much turmoil they’d actually have to endure.

A Tag Team

Shortly after they wed, the couple left their Houston homes and moved to New York City, where they hoped to grow their careers as dancers. But after Swayze’s success was hindered thanks to an old football knee injury that resurfaced, they relocated to Los Angeles and gave acting a shot.

Ron Davis/Getty Images

Niemi stuck by Swayze’s side as his acting career took off, helping him with his iconic dance scenes in Dirty Dancing and inspiring his ballad, “She’s Like The Wind.” Together, they also starred in One Last Dance, a film written and directed by Niemi. In addition, they ran a construction company together and raised horses on their San Fernando Valley ranch. But while their fairy-tale romance seemed idyllic, they would be thrown a curve ball that they could have never planned for.

A Bleak Prognosis

In March of 2008, Swayze was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer and both his and Niemi’s life was flipped upside down. His battle with the life-threatening disease began in 2007, when he first recognized symptoms while celebrating New Years Eve with his wife.

ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy Stock Photo

To ring in the new year, the actor popped open a bottle of champagne and compared drinking it to “pouring acid, you know, on an open wound.” He then realized his “indigestion got gigantic and constant,” adding, “And then I started thinking, I’m getting skinny. I dropped 20 pounds in the blink of an eye.” Swayze’s declining health also affected Niemi, who told ABC News that her husband’s diagnosis “was like being in a nightmare you couldn’t wake up from.” But as his wife, she willfully took on the role of caretaker, though it wouldn’t be an easy task.

Taking On The Role Of Caretaker

Lisa Niemi admitted to feeling fearful over Swayze’s bleak prognosis but said, “Because we were in a fight for his life, I always said to myself, ‘I can cry; I can fall apart; I can panic – later. But not now.’ I made a decision that I was going to be who he needed me to be so that he could get better.”

Paramount Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

To her, that meant being there for Swayze in any way he needed: holding his hand, taking him to doctor’s appointments, giving him his medication, and even educating herself about his cancer and the medical system. In an interview with Cancer Connect, she said, “I kept copious notes on everything because I knew that while he had fabulous doctors, he was not the only patient they had, and I was willing to contribute to his health – to dedicate myself – in a way nobody else could.” Although she did everything in her power to help Swayze, the worst was only yet to come.

‘Til Death Do Us Part’

On the fateful day of September 14, 2009, Swayze passed away next to Niemi in their home. Opening up at a Women’s Conference shortly after, Niemi said, “I thought during the 22 months of my husband’s illness that it gave me time to get used to the idea of losing him.” But when it actually happened, she lamented, “the actual loss – it’s like an animal all on its own.”

Peter Timmullstein bild via Getty Images

In a later interview with Fox, Niemi spoke about the heavy toll her husband’s death took on her, saying, “After he died, a girlfriend said , ‘You’re a pretty woman but one that looks like she’s been hit by a truck.’” Niemi added, “and I felt like that.” But it was the last words she and Swayze exchanged before he passed that would leave a more indelible mark on Niemi, and one which would also affect her future relationships.

Their Last Words

As Lisa Niemi wrote in her heartbreaking 2011 memoir, Worth Fighting For, that her Hollywood actor husband spoke his final words to her on a Friday evening. And as is so often the case with last words, there’s no way to plan or predict which moment will be the one that matters most.

Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Swayze took his last breath the following Monday morning. And while the silence that ensued all day Saturday and Sunday was almost louder than any other sound in the world, Niemi tried to hold fast to those last words: “I love you.” Still, despite sharing this last tender moment with her husband, Niemi recalls harboring deep regrets.

Her Biggest Regret

It’s hard enough to lose a loved one – but losing a loved one and feeling regretful over what you wish you could have said or done differently – just drives the already deep-seated pain even deeper. And this is what Niemi experienced in the aftermath of her husband’s death.

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Speaking to an audience of 14,000 women at a Women’s Conference, Niemi revealed that she wishes she told her husband she loved him more. Even though, she said, “We told each other we loved each other over and over again. I never left the room without telling him,” she felt it still wasn’t enough, adding, “My regret is that I didn’t tell him that I loved him enough over that entire 34 years.” Her regret wasn’t the only thing she revealed following her husband’s death, however.

A Family Secret

Nearly ten years since Swayze’s passing, Niemi has spoken out about intimate details of the actor’s family life. In particular, she revealed in Paramount Pictures’ documentary, “I Am Patrick Swayze” that her late husband withstood years of abuse as a child.

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Niemi claimed that Swayze’s mother, Patsy, had a tendency to be “‘very violent” – so violent, in fact, that on Swayze’s 18th birthday, his father, Jesse threatened to divorce his wife if she ever laid a hand on their son again. Would his parents’ marriage end in divorce or would Swayze manage to mend his relationship with his mother before he passed?

A Future Unknown

As Niemi claimed, Patsy’s abusive behavior was a perfect reflection of what goes on in families that that are caught in a cycle of abuse. Because Patsy’s own mother was abusive, Niemi said, she was given a distorted example of how to parent and ultimately treated Swayze in the only way she knew a parent to treat their child.

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Thankfully, there was an end to the abuse. Patsy heeded her husband’s warnings and as Niemi said, “she never hit after that.” Over the years, Swayze managed to develop a healthy relationship with his mother, but to get there, the actor first needed to make a tough decision.

A Tough Decision

As to be expected, Patsy’s abusive nature had an effect on Swayze’s well-being. He came to the realization that his outlook on life was being shaped by the way his mother raised him and ultimately decided that enough was enough. Something had to change.

Aaron Rapoport/Corbis via Getty Images

Swayze made the tough decision to move out of his house. Commenting on how the actor refused to let his upbringing crumble him, Niemi said, “If somebody pushes you that hard as his mom did, it could make people cave, but it made him fight harder.” Even though Swayze moved out of the house, it wouldn’t be enough to mend his relationship with his mother; something on her end needed to change as well.

A Little Nicer

Though it wasn’t easy to reverse decades of learned behavior, Patsy eventually came around. Initially describing her husband’s mother to be “extremely critical and negative,” Niemi said that in the end, Patsy “figured out that if she was going to be around us, she needed to be a little nicer, and that’s what she did.”

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From then on, Swayze and his mother developed a close relationship. In speaking about how Patsy addressed the abuse years later, Niemi said, “I think she would say , ‘Well, you know, sometimes I could be strict, I’m that kind of a teacher.’” Although Swayze managed to mend the relationship he had with his mother, as it turned out, the hardships he faced with her wouldn’t be the only hardships he was confronted with in life.

A Long List Of Hardships

The reality is, no relationship is perfect, and the one between Niemi and Swayze was no different. Around the same time Swayze cemented his role in Hollywood with a Golden Globe nomination for the 1990 drama film, Ghost, he and wife Niemi received devastating news.

Ron Galella,Ltd./Contributor-Getty Images

The couple tragically found out that Niemi had miscarried their baby. Swayze’s bodyguard, Frank Whiteley commented on the actor’s heartbreak, saying, “It broke his heart. He wanted to be a dad more than anything.” Unfortunately, this would prove to be only the beginning of a long list of hardships in Swayze and Niemi’s life together.

Tragedies In The Family

Niemi’s miscarriage came in the middle of two big tragedies in Swayze’s family life. In 1982, the famed Dirty Dancing actor’s father passed away from a heart attack. Seeing as he was the one to protect Swayze from the hands of his mother’s abuse, his death left the actor absolutely shattered.

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Then 12 years later, in 1994, Swayze’s sister, Vicky took her own life. Swayze said of her death, “It was hard not to feel responsible.” And with so much tragedy amidst his wife’s miscarriage and the deaths of his father and sister, the actor admitted, “I started to feel like I was cursed.” Unable to cope, Swayze searched for solace in hopeless places.

Searching For Solace In A Hopeless Place

To fill the empty void in his heart following his wife’s miscarriage and the loss of close family members, Swayze turned to alcohol. The actor’s attempt to drink away his pain inevitably impacted both his professional life and his personal life.

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Swayze’s struggle with alcohol abuse sidelined him from Hollywood’s spotlight, as he admitted, “alcohol and the craft of acting is not a smart combination.” And as to be expected, it also took a toll on his relationship with Niemi. The relationship between the two became so tense that they separated in 2003. On the verge of divorce, Swayze and Niemi sought help from an unlikely source.

Help From An Unlikely Source

In Swayze’s memoir, Time of My Life, the actor recounts how he and Niemi managed to repair their broken relationship. With no way to rewrite the past and undo the damage that had been done at the hand of his alcoholism, the pair needed outside help.

Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Swayze and Niemi consulted the help of a psychic to fix what he claimed was a relationship “poisoned by mistrust and bitterness.” As part of their healing, the couple took a piece of paper, wrote out “I will forget the past” ten times, and buried it underneath an avocado tree. Swayze and Niemi ended up reuniting in 2004, showing that it’s possible to come out of difficult situations on top so long as you stay strong. Niemi would be taught the same lesson years later.

Staying Positive

Just four years after Niemi and Swayze got back together, Swayze was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. And although Niemi unfortunately lost her husband of 34 years to the disease, she managed to fight through the pain and remain positive.

Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Following Swayze’s death, Niemi passed the time riding horses, redecorating her house, and practicing yoga. She also leaned on her friends for support. And even though it was an extremely trying time for her, she told People magazine a year later, “I know I’m stronger now. The fact that I’ve had some good days definitely gives me hope that I can have more.” Yet even despite this positivity, Niemi didn’t think finding love again would be in her future.

An Uncertain Future

Losing a spouse leaves an emptiness that is difficult to fill. And for many widows, entertaining the thought of another romantic relationship is both uncomfortable and painful. It was no different for Niemi in the aftermath of Patrick Swayze’s death.

Dave Hogan/Getty Images

Following her husband’s passing, Niemi admitted to being unsure of whether she’d be able to find romance in her future again. She told People magazine, “I hope I’m not one of these women who never want to have another relationship. But who knows; that’s another bridge I’ll cross when I come to it. I may get there and go, ‘I don’t know.’ But I like to think that I can.” Would she be able to find love again in her future?

Hope Is On The Horizon

As it turned out, hope was on the horizon for Lisa Niemi. In 2012, just a few years after losing her beloved husband to cancer, the former ballerina met jeweler, Albert DePrisco through a mutual friend at a birthday party.

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Their meeting marked a new chapter in Niemi’s life and they started dating shortly after, embarking on a long-distance relationship between DePrisco’s South Florida home and Niemi’s ranch outside of Los Angeles, which she had previously shared with Swayze. After dating for over a year and a half, DePrisco got down on one knee and asked for Niemi’s hand in marriage. But she had two major things to consider.

A Difficult Decision

Although Niemi was happy in her new relationship with DePrisco, she was confronted with a difficult decision when he proposed. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to walk down the aisle again, given her lengthy marriage with Swayze that ended only a few years before.

Denise Truscello/WireImage

Detailing her thoughts on getting remarried, Niemi said, “I found myself grappling with my feelings of having been married to Patrick for 34 years! Privately, I flipped, I flopped. Yes, get married, no, don’t get married.” To arrive at a decision, she first had to consider what this would mean for her, as she still loved Swayze. She said, “When you lose someone, you never stop loving them and it’s … I feel like I have a different relationship with him now… It’s just, he’s not physically present.” And while she ultimately decided that her love “for Patrick was never in conflict or competition with feelings for Albert,” she still she had one more thing to consider.

A Growing Confidence

Perhaps the most important thing for Niemi to consider was what Swayze would have wanted for her. She gave this lots of thought and finally arrived at a conclusion. Ultimately, she said, “I know he wouldn’t want me to hurt anymore… he wouldn’t want me to cry anymore. He wanted me to be happy.”

Dave Benett/Getty Images

It was also DePrisco’s acknowledgment of her past that helped Niemi make her decision, explaining, “Albert knew I still loved Patrick and would always love him and told me, ‘And I know you love me, and I love you.’ How could I not marry this man?” But what really convinced her to move on would come from the most unexpected place.

A Trip Down The Aisle, Again

Although Niemi had already accepted DePrisco’s proposal and had plans to walk down the aisle – and soon, for that matter – it was not until a few weeks before their wedding that her insecurities were finally put at bay.

Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images

Niemi became confident in her decision to marry DePrisco after Swayze appeared in her dream one fateful night. Detailing the supernatural coincidence, Niemi said of Swayze in her dream, “ It was like he was giving me his blessing and letting me know it was okay. Again, it can be hard sometimes to take those steps forward, but it doesn’t change the way we feel about someone. He was letting me know that.” So, on May 14, 2014, nearly five years after Swayze’s passing, Niemi walked down the aisle once more.

Another Happily Ever After

In front of more than 50 of their closest family and friends, Niemi and DePrisco said “I do.” They exchanged vows at The Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida on a sunny Sunday afternoon, and Niemi was all smiles over getting re-married, which she called “a leap of faith.”

Essdras M Suarez/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

At 58 years old, Niemi was given a second shot at finding love in marriage. She told People magazine in an interview following her wedding that she was “willing to step into that future” with new husband, Albert DePrisco. And with that, she has given so many people hope of finding love amidst tragedy.

Sources: Fox News, Daily Mail, Cancer Connect

“Dirty Dancing” star Patrick Swayze dead at 57

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Actor Patrick Swayze, whose turn as a smoldering dance instructor in “Dirty Dancing” made him one of the iconic film stars of the 1980s, died on Monday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 57.

Patrick Swayze in an undated publicity photo. REUTERS/File

Swayze, an actor and dancer who cemented his status as sex symbol opposite Demi Moore in the 1990 romance “Ghost”, died at his home.

“Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully today with family at his side after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months,” publicist Annett Wolf said in a statement.

Swayze became one of Hollywood’s top stars with 1987’s “Dirty Dancing,” which defied Hollywood expectations to become one of the most-watched movies of all time.

The Texas-born actor played the swaggering dance instructor Johnny Castle in the film opposite Jennifer Grey’s sheltered teenager Frances “Baby” Houseman, who becomes smitten with him while on vacation at a New York resort during the 1960s.

Swayze was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly forms of the disease, in January 2008. He said at the time that the cancer had already spread to his liver.

But he vowed to fight the disease and had treatment with an experimental drug, surprising Hollywood by filming a new detective series for television called “The Beast” in which he played the grueling lead role.

The series was broadcast earlier this year.

“I think everybody thought I was out of my mind … thinking I’m gonna pull off a TV show,” Swayze said in an interview in January 2009, adding that he was scared and angry at his diagnosis.

Swayze was working on a memoir with his wife of more than 30 years, Lisa Niemi, earlier this year.

“Dirty Dancing,” which was made for a modest budget and almost scrapped by its studio, became a massive box-office hit, earning Golden Globe nominations for both stars and spawning the Oscar-winning hit single “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.”


Producers did not have high hopes for the film but it reaped $64 million at the U.S. box office and $214 million worldwide.

Swayze co-wrote and performed the song “She’s Like the Wind” for the movie’s soundtrack, which went to No. 3 on the pop music charts. The film remained widely popular more than two decades later and recently spawned a stage musical version.

In 1990, “Ghost” was an even bigger hit than “Dirty Dancing,” with a domestic box office take of more than $217 million and $505 million around the world.

Swayze starred as Demi Moore’s deceased lover, Sam, in the tear-jerker romance, which was nominated for a best film Academy Award.

Whoopi Goldberg won an Oscar for her supporting role as a spiritual medium who helps Sam communicate with his girlfriend from beyond the grave. Goldberg said it was Swayze who convinced director Jerry Zucker to cast her.

Swayze was born in Houston on August 18, 1952, and was introduced to performing early. His father was a champion rodeo cowboy and his mother owned a ballet studio.

Swayze trained in dance from a young age and performed for New York City ballet companies before moving to Broadway.

His portrayal of Danny Zuko on Broadway in “Grease” caught the attention of Hollywood and he moved to the West Coast in the late 1970s, appearing in small TV and film parts.

Slideshow (8 Images)

His breakout roles came in 1983’s boyhood drama “The Outsiders” and 1984’s “Red Dawn” in which he and future “Dirty Dancing” co-star Grey played teenagers fighting invading Russians.

After “Dirty Dancing” and “Ghost,” Swayze suffered several career setbacks, including a battle with alcohol.

Attributing some of his problems with drinking to his sudden fame and the Hollywood lifestyle, he moved back to Texas with his wife but worked in such films as “The Green Dragon” and “Donnie Darko,” both in 2001.

Editing by Philip Barbara

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Patrick Swayze personified a particular kind of masculine grace both on and off screen, from his roles in films like “Dirty Dancing” and “Ghost” to the way he carried himself in his long fight with pancreatic cancer.

Swayze died from the illness on Monday in Los Angeles, his publicist said. He was 57.

“Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully today with family at his side after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months,” Annett Wolf said in a statement Monday evening. She declined to give details.

Fans of the actor were saddened to learn in March 2008 that Swayze was suffering from an especially deadly form of cancer. He continued working despite the diagnosis, putting together a memoir with his wife and shooting “The Beast,” an A&E drama series for which he had already made the pilot.

Swayze said he chose not to use painkillers while making “The Beast” because they would have taken the edge off his performance. The show drew a respectable 1.3 million viewers when the 13 episodes ran this year, but A&E said it reluctantly decided not to renew it for a second season.

When he first went public with the illness, some reports gave him only weeks to live, but his doctor said his situation was “considerably more optimistic” than that. Swayze acknowledged that time might be running out given the grim nature of the disease.

“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.”

And that’s exactly what he did. In February, Swayze wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Post titled, “I’m Battling Cancer. How About Some Help, Congress?” in which he urged senators and representatives to vote for the maximum funding for the National Institutes of Health to fight cancer as part of the economic stimulus package.

He also appeared in the September 2008 live television event “Stand Up to Cancer,” where he pleaded: “I keep dreaming of a future, a future with a long and healthy life, a life not lived in the shadow of cancer, but in the light. … I dream that the word ‘cure’ will no longer be followed by the words ‘is impossible.”‘

“I have always had a special place in my heart for Patrick,” he said. “While I was fortunate enough to work with him in three films, it was our passion for horses that forged a friendship between us that I treasure to this day.”

Others used Twitter to express their sadness, and “Dirty Dancing” was a top trending topic Monday night, trailed by other Swayze films.

Demi Moore, who played Swayze’s fiancee in “Ghost,” wrote: “Patrick you are loved by so many and your light will forever shine in all of our lives.” Moore’s husband, Ashton Kutcher, tweeted: “RIP P Swayze” and linked to a YouTube clip of the actor poking fun at himself in a classic “Saturday Night Live” sketch, in which he played a wannabe Chippendales dancer alongside the corpulent — and frighteningly shirtless — Chris Farley.

Larry King wrote: “Patrick Swayze was a wonderful actor & a terrific guy. He put his heart in everything. He was an extraordinary fighter in his battle w Cancer.” King added that he’d do a tribute to Swayze on his CNN program Tuesday night.

A three-time Golden Globe nominee, Swayze became a star with his performance as the misunderstood bad boy Johnny Castle in “Dirty Dancing.” As the son of a choreographer who began his career in musical theater, he seemed a natural to play the role.

A coming-of-age romance starring Jennifer Grey as an idealistic young woman on vacation with her family and Swayze as the Catskills resort’s sexy (and much older) dance instructor, the film made use of both his grace on his feet and his muscular physique.

It became an international phenomenon in the summer of 1987, spawning albums, an Oscar-winning hit song in “(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life,” stage productions and a sequel, 2004’s “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights,” in which he made a cameo.

Swayze performed and co-wrote a song on the soundtrack, the ballad “She’s Like the Wind,” inspired by his wife, Lisa Niemi. The film also gave him the chance to utter the now-classic line, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

Swayze followed up with the 1989 action flick “Road House,” in which he played a bouncer at a rowdy bar. But it was his performance in 1990’s “Ghost” that showed his vulnerable, sensitive side. He starred as a murdered man trying to communicate with his fiancee, with great frustration and longing, through a psychic played by Whoopi Goldberg.

“Ghost” provided yet another indelible musical moment: Swayze and Moore sensually molding pottery together to the strains of the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody.” It also earned a best-picture nomination and a supporting-actress Oscar for Goldberg, who said she wouldn’t have won if it weren’t for Swayze.

“When I won my Academy Award, the only person I really thanked was Patrick,” Goldberg said in March 2008 on the ABC daytime talk show “The View.”

Swayze himself earned three Golden Globe nominations, for “Dirty Dancing,” “Ghost” and 1995’s “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar,” which allowed him to toy with his masculine image. The role called for him to play a drag queen on a cross-country road trip alongside Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo.

His heartthrob status almost kept him from being considered for the role of Vida Boheme.

“I couldn’t get seen on it because everyone viewed me as terminally heterosexually masculine-macho,” he told The Associated Press then. But he transformed himself so completely that when his screen test was sent to Steven Spielberg, whose Amblin pictures produced “To Wong Foo,” the director didn’t recognize him.

Among his earlier films, Swayze was part of the star-studded lineup in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1983 adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s novel “The Outsiders,” alongside Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez and Diane Lane. Other ’80s films included “Red Dawn,” “Grandview U.S.A.” and “Youngblood,” once more with Lowe, as Canadian hockey teammates.

In the ’90s, he made such eclectic films as “Point Break” (1991) in which he played the leader of a band of bank-robbing surfers, and the family Western “Tall Tale” (1995) in which he starred as Pecos Bill. He appeared on the cover of People magazine as its “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1991, but his career tapered off toward the end of the 1990s, when he went to rehab for alcohol abuse. In 2001, he appeared in the cult favorite “Donnie Darko,” and in 2003 he returned to the New York stage with “Chicago”; 2006 found him in the musical “Guys and Dolls” in London.

Swayze was born in 1952 in Houston, the son of Jesse Swayze and choreographer Patsy Swayze, whose films include “Urban Cowboy.”

He played football but also was drawn to dance and theater, performing with the Feld, Joffrey and Harkness Ballets and appearing on Broadway as Danny Zuko in “Grease.” He turned to acting in 1978 after a series of injuries.

Within a couple years of moving to Los Angeles, he made his debut in the roller-disco movie “Skatetown, U.S.A.” The eclectic cast included Scott Baio, Flip Wilson, Maureen McCormack and Billy Barty.

Off-screen, he was an avid conservationist who was moved by his time in Africa to shine a light on “man’s greed and absolute unwillingness to operate according to Mother Nature’s laws,” he told the AP in 2004.

Swayze was married since 1975 to Niemi, a fellow dancer who took lessons with his mother; they met when he was 19 and she was 15. A licensed pilot, Niemi would fly her husband from Los Angeles to Northern California for treatment at Stanford University Medical Center.

Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze dies after cancer battle

Patrick Swayze’s two leading ladies today led tributes to the Dirty Dancing and Ghost star, who has died after a 20-month battle with cancer.

Jennifer Gray said he was a “real cowboy with a tender heart” while Demi Moore used her Twitter page to say: “Patrick you are loved by so many and your light will forever shine in all of our lives.”

Referring to the roles they played in Ghost, Moore added: “And in the words of Sam to Molly: It’s amazing Molly. The love inside, you take it with you.’ I love and will miss you Patrick.”

Swayze, who died yesterday aged 57, will be forever remembered to generations of women as dance instructor Johny Castle in the 1987 film Dirty Dancing. Originally conceived as a low-budget movie expected to transfer quickly to video, Swayze ignored his manager’s advice and accepted the part.

Gallery: Patrick Swayze – life and times
Video: Classic Patrick Swayze moments

He said the movie, which featured the line “Nobody puts baby in a corner”, became a “phenomenon” that took his life “into insanity”. Many women joined the “100-plus” club marking the number of times they had seen the film. Swayze said: “That is the movie that sent my life and world into hyperspace.”

His co-star Jennifer Grey said in a statement: “Patrick was a rare and beautiful combination of raw masculinity and amazing grace. Gorgeous and strong, he was a real cowboy with a tender heart.

“He was fearless and insisted on always doing his own stunts, so it was not surprising to me that the war he waged on his cancer was so courageous and dignified.”

Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer early last year but continued to work, writing his memoirs and starring in a TV series called The Beast.

He received chemotherapy but opted not to use painkiller drugs because he feared they would take the edge of his gritty performance as an undercover FBI agent.

His wife of 34 years, Lisa Niemi, said she and his brother, Donny, were at his bedside when he died yesterday at his ranch in Los Angeles. He had fought a public battle against the disease but his condition had deteriorated dramatically in recent weeks.

Swayze, a smoker for decades, continued his habit even as he was being treated. He missed just one day of work while filming the show. How do you nurture a positive attitude when all the statistics say you’re a dead man? You go to work,’ he said.

He told American interviewer Barbara Walters: “One thing I am not going to do is chase staying alive. You spend so much time chasing staying alive, you won’t live.”

Born in Houston, Texas, Swayze was a classically-trained dancer who turned to acting after being injured. He appeared on Broadway as Danny Zuko in Grease. His first film break was starring alongside Rob Lowe in The Outsiders.

He earned a Golden Globe nomination for Dirty Dancing, and the song he sang from the soundtrack, She’s Like the Wind, went to No3 in the US Billboard charts.

A second massive success followed in 1990 with Ghost, in which he played a murdered man coming back from the dead to protect his fiancée, with whom he communicated via a psychic played by Whoopi Goldberg. Goldberg, who won an Oscar for best supporting actress, said today: “I believe in Ghost’s message, so he’ll always be near.”

Swayze also won Golden Globes for Ghost and 1995’s To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar,

But other films such as Road House and Point Break were less successful. The death of his father and his sister’s suicide saw him fight a long battle with alcoholism. He later had a minor part in the cult classic Donnie Darko and appeared on the London stage in 2006 in Guys and Dolls.

Gallery: Patrick Swayze – life and times
Video: Classic Patrick Swayze moments