The Dirty Dancing actor passed away in Los Angeles on Monday (14Sept09) after losing his battle with pancreatic cancer.
Swayze publicly announced his illness in early 2008 and underwent regular bouts of chemotherapy as he repeatedly denied tabloid reports he was close to death.
But even as he battled the disease he continued to film The Beast – and his co-stars have praised his bravery for carrying on in the TV cop show.
Gilliard Jr. tells U.S. chat show host Larry King, “He was just an amazing, amazing person. Even after he was diagnosed, he came to work and brought something to the table every day. That’s something I learned. Every day he came, he was 100 per cent going all out, just a true professional, you know?
“There were hard times for him. But, you know, Patrick, the kind of person that he is, he covered it all. You know, he covered it all. He went to work. He always had a smile. He was always there.
“He didn’t complain. I mean… there was one time where he was working and he got sick. He did. He had caught a cold or something. And, you know, of course, everyone freaked out because they were like this might be it. But it was just a cold. That was the worst that I can remember on the set. He came back like a week later and he was back on the set.”
Actor C. Thomas Howell, who starred in three movies alongside Swayze, also paid tribute to Swayze, telling King, “He was a guy known for his physique. He was an athletic guy. He was an extremely handsome guy. And I think it was hard on everybody to watch him go through this process and see what took place – I mean the toll physically, was shocking.”