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US Actor Patrick Swayze Dies at 57

Actor Patrick Swayze has died at age 57 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Swayze was a classically trained dancer who became a romantic lead and an action star and, in his final months, an inspiration to his fans and colleagues in Hollywood.

Patrick Swayze was born in Houston. His mother, choreographer Patsy Swayze, owned a dance studio and Patrick became a dancer himself, moving on to advanced training in ballet in New York City.

He played in the original production of Grease on Broadway, and broke into films in 1979.

Swayze had a role in The Outsiders in 1983. The ensemble drama about teenage gangs starred other Hollywood newcomers, including Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon and Emilio Estevez.

His big break came four years later, when he played a sexy dance instructor in the film Dirty Dancing. His steamy chemistry with costar Jennifer Grey made the film at hit.

In 1990, Swayze earned critical acclaim as a romantic lead opposite Demi Moore in the film Ghost. He portrayed a young banker who is killed and returns from the dead to help his fiancée solve his murder, assisted by a psychic played by Whoopi Goldberg.

In January, 2008, the actor was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He announced the news to fans two months later, but was determined to keep working. Given just months to live, Swayze beat the odds and went on to star in an action series called The Beast on the A&E (Arts and Entertainment) cable network. He completed a rigorous season of filming while undergoing treatment. The series premiered in January, bringing Swayze praise for his role as an undercover agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Coworkers in Hollywood expressed their grief and admiration for his bravery in his 20-month battle with cancer.

Swayze's wife, Lisa, was a former student in his mother's dance classes. They married in 1975. Swayze's publicist says the actor died in Los Angeles, with his family at his side.