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Tributes pour in for Hollywood's lord of the dance Patrick Swayze

15 September 2009
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Patrick Swayze, fleet-footed star of Dirty Dancing and Ghost, lost his battle for life on Monday with his wife and childhood sweetheart Lisa Niemi by his side.

His final moments were spent at their ranch in the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains near Los Angeles, where the couple - married for 34 years - raised horses and indulged their passion for the outdoors.

The 57-year-old Hollywood talent had been fighting pancreatic cancer. He worked valiantly all through his treatment, initially on US TV show The Beast, and then writing his memoirs. "Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully today with family at his side after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months," said a statement from his publicist Annett Wolf.

Comedienne Whoopi Goldberg – who shared the screen with him in Ghost - led the tributes, describing him as "a really good man, a funny man and one to whom I owe much that I can't ever repay".

In the film, he played a murdered man trying to communicate with his fianceé, played by Demi Moore, through Whoopi's character, a psychic. "I believe in Ghost 's message, so he'll always be near," she said. Dirty Dancing co-star Jennifer Grey remembered her friend as a "rare and beautiful combination of raw masculinity and amazing grace"."Gorgeous and strong, he was a real cowboy with a tender heart," she added. "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.

"Actor Rob Lowe said he had lost someone very dear to him. "Patrick lived a thousand lifetimes in one lifetime," he went on. "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".

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