Patrick Swayze has passed away at the age of 57, after a two-year struggle against pancreatic cancer. The star, who rose to fame as Danny in Broadway's production of Grease, broke into film with roles in The Outsiders and Red Dawn. In 1987, he became a household name thanks Dirty Dancing, where he won thousands of women's hearts as dance instructor Johnny Castle.
1990's Ghost cemented his stardom, when Patrick played the deceased Sam Wheat, trying to contact his beloved (Demi Moore) through Whoopi Goldberg's medium. Then he grew his hair and took on surfer cop Keanu Reeves in Point Break, Katherine Bigelow's macho crime classic. But in 1994, he began a battle with alcoholism, after his father's death and sister's suicide.
Recent years saw him return with renewed determination, picking up parts as paedophile life guru Jim Cunningham in Donnie Darko and strutting his stuff as Nathan Detroit in the West End's 2006 Guys and Dolls revival. He announced his illness candidly to the world in 2008. He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Lisa Neimi, who was his highschool sweetheart.
In a statement, Jennifer Grey said: "Patrick was a rare and beautiful combination of raw masculinity and amazing grace. It was not surprising to me that the war he waged on his cancer was so courageous and dignified." Actor Rob Lowe, co-star of The Outsiders, also paid tribute: "Patrick lived a thousand lifetimes in one lifetime. He was an expert dancer, he wrote hit songs, he starred in hit movies, he was an amazing horseman. But the thing I will remember him most for was his amazing love affair with his wife, Lisa. He played my brother twice, in The Outsiders when I was 17, and then in Youngblood. Tonight I lost a brother."
"It's not tragic to die doing what you love." (Point Break, 1991) For a reminder of Patrick's prowess on the dance floor, keep reading.