Sad announcement just made at the Television Critics Association 2009 Winter Press Tour: "Patrick Swayze checked himself into the hospital this morning for observation after coming down with pneumonia." The pneumonia is said to be a complication of chemotherapy treatments for Swayze's cancer.
Swayze was scheduled to join costar Travis Fimmel and producers in presenting A&E's new drama The Beast to critics.
According to A&E reps, Swayze specifically asked that the show go on and that they pass along a message from him about how "unbelievably proud" he is of the work they've done so far on The Beast.
"I'm going through hell," he said.
Swayze also acknowledged to Walters that he might have just two years to live, but he would keep on working as long as he could.
The erstwhile Dirty Dancer learned of his diagnosis four hours after The Beast was picked up by A&E. After discussions with producers and the network, everybody decided to move forward with the series. At today's panel, executive producer William Rotko saluted Swayze's grit.
Despite his obvious agony (Swayze refused to take painkillers while working), he missed only one day during The Beast's entire 13-episode shoot.
"When we found out he had cancer, we went out to his house. He was very up front with us. He came up to me and stood right next to me and said, 'It's gonna be OK. I'm gonna be OK.' He's got cancer, and he's telling me we're gonna be OK. And that carries through the show."
(Originally published Jan. 9, 2009, at 12:31 p.m. PT.)