Rumours this afternoon swept the internet that Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze had lost his battle with pancreatic cancer and died at the age of 56 - but have been swiftly denied by his rep.
Hundreds of Twitters per minute came on social networking site Twitter in response to the apparent news that Swayze had passed away, but these were denied by his rep to People magazine. Wikipedia was also updated to note his apparent death.
The American actor and dancer has been undergoing a public battle with pancreatic cancer, working on despite his illness under the full glare of the media spotlight.
News broke in early 2008 that actor Patrick Swayze had been diagnosed with the aggressive disease. Depending on the extent of the cancer at the time of diagnosis, the prognosis is generally regarded as poor, with less than five percent of those diagnosed still alive five years after diagnosis.
Swayze faced the disease head on and bravely went ahead with US cop show The Beast, in which he starred as an FBI agent.
Reports from the set talked about Swayze working gruelling 12-hour days, foregoing painkillers, and taking only one day off despite going through harsh treatments for his disease.
His first major film role was in 1983’s The Outsiders, as the older brother of C. Thomas Howell and Rob Lowe.
However, his real leap to stardom came from his performance in 1987 film Dirty Dancing, where he starred as Johnny Castle alongside Jennifer Grey as Frances 'Baby' Houseman.
Dirty Dancing was a low-budget project that was intended to be shown in theaters for one weekend only and then go straight to video, but it became a surprise hit and achieved massive international success.