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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Patrick Swayze, whose good looks and sympathetic performances in films such as "Dirty Dancing" and "Ghost" made him a romantic idol to millions, died Monday. Swayze died of pancreatic cancer, his publicist, Annett Wolf, told CNN. George Fisher, revealed in early March 2008 that Swayze was suffering from the disease."Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully today with family at his side after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months," Wolf said in a statement Monday."We are saddened by the loss of one of our generation's greatest talents and a member of the A&E family," a statement from the network said."Patrick's work on 'The Beast' was an inspiration to us all. 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," Grey said in a statement Monday.He will be greatly missed and our thoughts are with his wife, Lisa, and his entire family during this difficult time." Swayze was mostly known for a handful of supporting roles when he broke through with his performance as dance instructor Johnny Castle in 1987's "Dirty Dancing." Co-star Jennifer Grey, who played his young lover, Baby Houseman, in the film, described Swayze as "gorgeous and strong." "Patrick was a rare and beautiful combination of raw masculinity and amazing grace. "When I think of him, I think of being in his arms when we were kids, dancing, practicing the lift in the freezing lake, having a blast doing this tiny little movie we thought no one would ever see.My heart goes out to his wife and childhood sweetheart, Lisa Niemi, to his mom, Patsy, and to the rest of their family." Three years after "Dirty Dancing," he became an even bigger star with "Ghost," in which he played an investment banker who dies and learns to tap into his unspoken feelings for his partner (Demi Moore).The film won Whoopi Goldberg an Oscar and helped make him People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" in 1991.
Most recently, Swayze starred in A&E Network's "The Beast," which debuted in January.He agreed to take the starring role of an undercover FBI agent before his diagnosis.But he said the show's character "just felt right for my soul." "If I leave this Earth, I want to leave this Earth just knowing I've tried to give something back and tried to do something worthwhile with myself," Swayze told Walters, when asked why he decided to do the show."And that keeps me going, that gets me up in the morning. is my legacy." "The Beast" was canceled in June because of Swayze's illness, after doctors told him the cancer had spread to his liver.The network agreed to shoot an entire season of the show after Swayze responded well to his cancer treatment.
i Report.com: Send us your memories of Swayze In an interview with ABC's Barbara Walters in January, Swayze said his work on that show was exhausting, requiring 12-hour workdays in Chicago, Illinois, doing his own stunts.