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Patrick Swayze RIP

We've known it might be coming for a while, given his cancer diagnosis, but it makes the news no easier to report: Patrick Swayze has died at the age of 57.

Swayze was probably best known for roles in the likes of '80s classics Red Dawn, Dirty Dancing, Road House and 1990's Ghost.

The son of an engineering draftsman and choreographer, he got his professional start as a dancer in the Disney Parade, before grabbing a bigger role as Danny Zuko in a Broadway production of Grease.

He then jumped to screens both big and small, nabbing a small role in disco rumble film Skatetown USA and guest appearances on the likes of M*A*S*H on TV.

Bigger roles beckoned with Red Dawn and Youngblood, but his big breakout was in 1987's Dirty Dancing, which saw him reunite with Dawn co-star Jennifer Grey.

Swayze's role as dance instructor Johnny Castle sent many a young girl's heart racing and secured his place in pop culture history, not just for the film but for co-writing and performing the single She's Like The Wind, which became a top 10 hit across the pond.

After Dancing, his career quietened and he found himself getting typecast into sensitive/tough guy roles, with Road House as the best of the bunch before 1990 and his starring role in the mega-hit Ghost.

He followed that up with cult action thriller Point Break and scored People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive award. Looking to break out of his traditional roles, he rocked several sequin gowns as a drag queen for Too Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar.

After recovering from a serious leg injury filming 1996's Letters From A Killer, Swayze went on to a number of smaller roles, but never quite achieved the same level of fame.

Still, he'd grab kudos for a much darker role in Donnie Darko - as motivational speaker Jim Cunningham.

He continued to work, going back to the stage for a role in the West End production of Guys And Dolls, before illness struck again.

In January 2008, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was fighting the disease with chemotherapy. Despite several earlier rumours of his death, he's always battled back and told reporters in July that year that he was "a miracle dude."

He still stuck to his career, taking a lead role in TV FBI drama The Beast, but had begun to sicken more recently.

He's survived by his wife of 34 years, Lisa Niemi.

Swayze, you will be missed. "He's not coming back..."

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