The man who led a group to beat off the combined forces of the Russian army and South American and Cuban forces that invaded the United States lost his final battle with Pancreatic cancer at the young age of 57.
While Patrick Swayze is remembered for Roadhouse and Dirty Dancing, he first came to prominence with Charlie Sheen in the movie Red Dawn, a fictional account on what would happen if Russia and their allies attacked the United States.
I remember watching him in the role of a dancer trying out for the position of a Chippendale dancer against the formidable Chris Farley. He had a sense of humor and a range in his talent. Of course, there was Ghost which I enjoyed immensely.
“I had been having some digestive trouble, mostly acid reflux and a kind of bloated feeling, for a few weeks,” Swayze writes in the book, which will be released Sept. 29. “I’ve had a sensitive stomach my whole life, so I hadn’t thought much of it, but lately I just couldn’t shake the constant discomfort.”
Swayze knew what he was facing. “My doctor told me my chances of surviving for more than a few months weren’t high,” he writes, “and I had no reason to doubt him.”
After making the announcement that he had to endure idiots from the National Enquirer and had to keep releasing photos to prove, in Mark Twainian fashion, that he was not dead. In fact, he has survived longer than most with this form of cancer. You might think that after all of that fight, it was an unfair ending. But he adds:
“I began thinking to myself, I’ve had more lifetimes than any 10 people put together, and it’s been an amazing ride,” he wrote in his soon-to-be released memoir, “The Time of My Life,” co-written with wife Lisa Niemi.
My prayers go out to the family. Sometimes, we all weep with you.