Before Patrick Swayze died from pancreatic cancer at age 57 in September 2009 it seemed like he would live forever! The Road House actor was on a roll and it seemed like every year he came out with a new movie. It didn’t seem like Patrick would ever slow down until he announced he was diagnosed with the deadly disease in January 2008.
In Paramount Network’s new documentary I Am Patrick Swayze — which airs Sunday, August 18 — the A-lister’s brother, Don Swayze, recalls the alarming phone call Patrick received from his doctor when he learned the reality of his cancer battle.
“I was in his kitchen, and there was a speaker phone, and the doctor, with no bedside manner at all had just spit it out: Your cancer has indeed metastasized in your liver and your lungs,” he said. After Patrick heard the troubling news, he “clinched his jaw and left the room” for about 30 seconds.
“He went out and had a little moment and he came back in,” Don recalled. “Even though he had the cancer that no ones going to recover from, I said to him, ‘OK, five percent, I’ve seen you be in the top five percent of everything you’ve done, why not now?’ And he goes, ‘Damn right!'”
From that moment, Patrick took it upon himself to live every moment like it’s his last. “I don’t know how to die,” Don noted his brother said at the time. “I’m just going to live until I stop.” That’s exactly what he did.
Patrick took a couple of gigs before his final days and he even helped his wife, Lisa Niemi, direct an episode of his final project, the TV series The Beast. “He finished the series,” she gushed in the documentary. “He did everything to be there for me during that time and I really knew that he was trying to give me a gift, which he did.”
Today, Lisa remembers her beloved husband as the guy who’ll always be her hero. “He always played heroes in his movies, the cape, the horse and the sword, but he showed himself to be really truly a hero,” she said. “I just saw the most incredible man, it was the best of himself that I saw.”
Luckily, Lisa got to spend Patrick’s final moments alive with him at their home. This was a special moment for the couple who had been happily married for decades.
“It was clear to me that when he left his body he had completely used it up, and it was worthless to him,” she said of Patrick after he passed. “It was not serving him anymore.”
I Am Patrick Swayze airs on the Paramount Network on Sunday, August 18, at 9 p.m. ET.
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