Patrick Swayze’s Widow Says His ‘Hands’ Were ‘Like Michaelangelo’


When Patrick Swayze was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in 2008, he knew his days were numbered. He would live for another 22 months, before dying at the age of 57 in 2009. 

Lisa Neimi Swayze’s life changed forever then, too.

And, while she’s dedicated her time to honoring her late husband and raising awareness of pancreatic cancer with the leading nonprofit Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, she also wants people to remember that there was so much more to Patrick.

“After he passed, I had a picture sitting on my desk, and he had this look on his face when he was about ready to laugh, and he just had such delight in life and what it had to offer,” Lisa tells PEOPLE of how she remembers him. “He had such an adventurous spirit.”

Lisa Niemi (left) and Patrick Swayze.
Helmut Reiss/United Archives via Getty Images

Patrick starred in numerous classic films throughout the 80s and 90s, including Dirty Dancing (1987), Road House (1989) and Ghost (1990) which of course contains one of the most famous pottery scenes of all time.

“Just the other day, I was thinking about his hands,” Lisa says when asked what her favorite things about Patrick are, still. “His hands were unbelievable. They’re like Michelangelo hands.”

Demi Moore (left) and Patrick Swayze.
Everett Collection

Though Lisa remarried in 2014 — a decision she recently said she received “a lot of flack for” — she says her relationship with her second husband, Albert, exists separate from that of her forever love for Patrick. 

“Before Albert and I got married, we were sitting at dinner one night and I said, ‘Does it bother you that I still love my husband?’ He says, ‘No, it doesn’t. Because I know you love me, and I am here to love you now,’ ” Lisa says, recalling a conversation the two shared. “So as far as he was concerned, life is for the living.”

Albert DePrisco (left) and Lisa Niemi Swayze.

Essdras M Suarez/The Boston Globe/Getty

Still, Lisa admits Albert’s grace is beyond her.

“I still don’t quite understand it because Patrick has a pretty tough act to follow,” she says, “but [Albert] has never had a problem with it, which is really wonderful.”

Patrick and Lisa had been married 34 years at the time of his death, having met when they were just teenagers in Houston, Texas, at Patrick’s mother’s dance studio. 

Patrick Swayze (left) and Lisa Niemi.

Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty

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“[He was] a very, very special man in so many ways. Very sensitive, but at the same time, very unpredictable,” says Lisa of Patrick. “Ambitious, aggressive with a very sweet, caring heart. Just an unusual man.”

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