Patrick Swayze denies reports he is near death

Tue Dec 2, 2008 2:07pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Dirty Dancing" star Patrick Swayze, who has pancreatic cancer, on Tuesday denied tabloid stories that he is near death.

Swayze, 56, said in a statement he was home with his family for the holidays after finishing work on his new television series "The Beast."

"The only thorn in my side being that many tabloids have been consistently reporting lies and false information about me and those close to me," Swayze said.

Lately, he said, "they're reporting that I'm on my last legs and saying goodbye to my tearful family."

The National Enquirer has reported Swayze's cancer spread to his liver. The Globe, another tabloid, placed the actor's photo on its cover with the headline "Swayze Deathbed Secret!"

Tabloid reports said Swayze had only weeks to live when the actor revealed in March he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Since then, he has started work on the FBI drama "The Beast".

"Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive disease and from the moment I was diagnosed, I knew I was in for the fight of my life," Swayze told People magazine.

"It's a battle, and so far, I've been winning. I'm one of the lucky few that responds well to treatment."

The Texas-born Swayze has starred in dozens of film, TV and stage roles. But he is best known for playing dance instructor Johnny Castle in the 1987 film "Dirty Dancing."

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Jill Serjeant and John O'Callaghan)

<p>Actor Patrick Swayze and his wife Lisa Niemi watch from the crowd as the Los Angeles Lakers play the San Antonio Spurs in Los Angeles, May 23, 2008. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>