Hilary Swank Mourns Death of Her Father Stephen With Moving Tribute

Hilary Swank revealed on New Year's Eve 2021 that her dad, Stephen Michael Swank, had passed away months earlier. Read her moving tribute to her late father.

By Corinne Heller Jan 02, 2022 7:45 PMTags
Watch: In Memoriam: Fallen Stars of 2022

Hilary Swank is starting 2022 while recovering from a tremendous loss.

The 47-year-old Oscar-winning actress revealed on New Year's Eve that her father, Stephen Michael Swank, died in October. He was 73.

"This past year was a big one for me and I know for so many of us," Hilary wrote on Instagram, alongside a selfie with her dad. "I have been off my phone and social media for a couple months due to a tremendous personal loss. In October, my Dear Dad, made his transition to the other side."

The Million Dollar Baby actress continued, "I had a rather unique relationship with him as I was his sole caretaker after a lung transplant seven years ago. I grew incredibly close to him during this time, deepening our relationship and savoring every moment we had together. He will always remain one of my most favorite persons and not a day goes by that I don't miss him."

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According to his obituary, Stephen, an Iowa-born Air Force and Air National Guard veteran, passed away on Oct. 1 at a Los Angeles hospital, "surrounded by love from his son, Dan Swank, and his daughter, Hilary Swank." He is also survived by his ex-wife and friend Judy Swank—Hilary's mother, plus five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. 

Instagram / Hilary Swank

"Upon retirement, he moved back to Maloy, IA, near his hometown, where he lived for several years, before moving to live with his daughter in Pacific Palisades, CA, for health reasons," the obituary says. "He happily lived with her until his passing, enjoying many holidays and visits from friends, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and family."

In her tribute to her dad, Hilary wrote, "But in this physical loss, as devastating as it is, I was awakened to the truest sense of living again. It helped me better understand the circle of life and where we come from and where we go back to, which has connected me back to my truest self. It helped me forgive, to move past the things that hold me back, in whatever form that takes each day. As well as being deeply connected to the Ultimate Source and therefore, my Dad, always."

"This last year I hope whatever trials and tribulations you all have had on your life journey bring you closer to your truest essence and help guide you into this New Year with whatever blessings you most need. We are all in this together," she continued, referring to the almost two-year COVID-19 pandemic. "I love you all and am grateful for this community. Peace and Many Blessings to you, in all the forms they may come. #HappyNewYear #ILoveYouDad #Forever"

Hilary had revealed in a 2015 HuffPost Live interview that her dad had undergone a lung transplant and moved in with her. She talked about how she put her acting career aside to become his sole caregiver. "There's been job opportunities I've passed on, and things that I said 'I can't,'" she said, "but really what we're here for is our family."

In 2018, the year she starred in the FX series Trust, Hilary gave an update about her father on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

"He's great, thank you for asking," she said. "They'd given him a short time to live if he didn't get a lung transplant and thankfully, he got one and he's alive and thriving and well. I took three years off to be with him and help him through that life journey."

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