The faces of Patrick Swayze.

Dirty Dancing and To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar star Patrick Swayze has died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 57.

As a child Swayze was talented in both ballet and sport but was often the subject of “gay” taunts at school.

“See these knuckles?” he said in a 2006 interview with The Telegraph. “There’s a reason they look like that. I got bashed from the day I was born. Even when I was the captain of the football team, the gymnastics team, doing track, swimming, whatever. It was why I learned martial arts.”

Swayze became a big screen heartthrob to both men and women in the 1980’s following his iconic turn as Johnny Castle in the musical smash hit Dirty Dancing.

“Patrick was a rare and beautiful combination of raw masculinity and amazing grace… He was a real cowboy with a tender heart,” his co-star in the film, Jennifer Grey, said in a statement following Swayze’s death.

“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.”

Swayze again made hearts swoon in 1990’s romantic tear-jerker Ghost in which he starred alongside Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg. In 1991 he was named The Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine.

The actor will also be fondly remembered for his role as the drag queen Vida Boheme in the 1995 comedy To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.

He said at the time that he struggled to land the role because “…everyone viewed me as terminally heterosexually masculine-macho.”

He last year was cast as a gay cheerleading instructor in the film Fired Up, but dropped the role following creative difference with producers.

Swayze’s death follows a 20 month public battle against cancer. According to his publicist, he passed away peacefully with his family at his side. He is survived by his childhood sweetheart and wife of 34 years, Lisa Niemi.

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