Patrick Swayze, the Houston-born star of such hits as Ghost and Dirty Dancing, died last night (September 14) following a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 57.

Swayze enjoyed heartthrob status for his lithe romantic performances in the aforementioned films and used his classical ballet training and experience as a Broadway dancer to notable effect in Dirty Dancing.

He earned the respect of teenage males, too, with winning turns as the surfing bank robber in Kathryn Bigelow’s thrill ride Point Break, as well as The Outsiders for Francis Ford Coppola and Red Dawn.

While Swayze’s broad popularity was rooted more firmly in mainstream adulation rather than critical favour, he enjoyed arguably the best notices of his career for his last role as a tough undercover agent in A&E’s cable series The Beast.

He is survived by his wife Lisa Niemi, brother Don, and his mother.