Patrick Swayze's former co-stars Jennifer Grey, Whoopi Goldberg and Rob Lowe have paid tribute to the movie star, who died on Monday (14Sep09) following a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
The actor, 57, passed away surrounded by his family in Los Angeles. He was diagnosed with the aggressive disease in 2007, and announced his plight in early 2008, remaining defiant throughout by undergoing chemotherapy treatments while still shooting his TV show The Beast.
Despite pictures of Swayze becoming frailer in recent weeks, Hollywood has been left shocked at the passing of the star - and many of his former co-stars and famous fans have stepped up to pay their respects.
Grey, who starred in cult romantic-comedy Dirty Dancing with Swayze, remembers learning the now notorious dance moves and having fun with her hunky co-star.
She recalls, "When I think of him, I think of being in his arms when we were kids, dancing, practising the lift in the freezing lake, having a blast doing this tiny little movie we thought no one would ever see. (He was a) real cowboy with a tender heart... it was not surprising to me that the war he waged on his cancer was so courageous and dignified.
"Patrick was a rare and beautiful combination of raw masculinity and amazing grace. My heart goes out to his wife and childhood sweetheart, Lisa Niemi, to his mum, Patsy, and to the rest of their family."
Goldberg, who won an Oscar for her turn opposite Swayze in 1991's superhit Ghost, was one of the first stars to honour the late heartthrob, insisting she owed so much to her dear friend.
She says, "Patrick was a really good man, a funny man and one to whom I owe much that I can't ever repay. I believe in 'Ghost's' message, so he'll always be near."
Meanwhile, Lowe and C. Thomas Howell - Swayze's fellow actors on his breakthrough film, Francis Ford Coppola's 1983 cult hit The Outsiders - have added their own tributes.
Lowe remembers, "Patrick lived a hundred lifetimes in one. I will remember him for that, and I will remember him for how much he loved his wife Lisa. He was such an intense actor, so full of passion and vigour. He definitely made the most out of it. It's a sad day."
Howell adds, "I have always had a special place in my heart for Patrick. 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. Not only did we lose a fine actor today, I lost my older 'Outsiders' brother. My heart goes out to not only his entire family, but all his fans as well."
And Terminator hardman Arnold Schwarzenegger confirmed himself as a fan of Swayze's work: "Patrick Swayze was a talented and passionate artist who struck a memorable chord with audiences throughout the world. He played a wide range of characters both on stage and in movies and his celebrated performances made the hard work of acting look effortless - which I know from experience is not easy. As a fan and as an actor, I admired Patrick and I know that he will be dearly missed. On behalf of all Californians, Maria and I send our deepest condolences to Patrick's family, friends and fans."
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