Patrick Swayze's Widow Says He's Still 'Incredibly Close' in Her Heart: 'Feel Like He's with Me'

·2 min read
Patrick Swayze and his wife Lisa Niemi arrive at the UK premiere of Keeping Mum
Patrick Swayze and his wife Lisa Niemi arrive at the UK premiere of Keeping Mum

Ian West - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

Patrick Swayze's widow still feels his presence, almost 13 years after his death.

Lisa Niemi Swayze — who was married to Swayze from 1975 until his death at age 57 in 2009, from pancreatic cancer — recently told Entertainment Tonight amid the 35th anniversary of his hit film Dirty Dancing that he was "one of a kind."

"It's very strange to have someone so far away and yet have them still so incredibly close in your heart," said Lisa, 66, noting that the 13 years that have passed are "quite a bit of time" on paper.

"I feel like he's with me every day, but of course it'd be nice to have him physically in the room," she continued. "But, I tell you what, we had a great ride and there's so much to be grateful for."

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Patrick Swayze and wife Lisa Niemi circa 1987 in New York City
Patrick Swayze and wife Lisa Niemi circa 1987 in New York City

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Swayze was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer in early 2008. He died just over a year and a half later, on Sept. 14, 2009.

From his beloved roles in 1987's Dirty Dancing and 1990's Ghost to his passions including dancing and horses, the actor — who would have turned 70 years old on Thursday — was determined to live life to the fullest.

"I don't think there's anything I don't miss about him," Lisa told ET. "He's got such a zest for life and this and that, but it's all the little things that are left."

"It's the sound of his voice, how he smells, all the things that put him in the room with you that are physical," she said.

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Lisa previously opened up about how she still honors Swayze's spirit every day, telling PEOPLE ahead of the 10-year-anniversary of his death in 2019, "I still feel like he's in my life."

"When you move past the extreme pain of losing someone you love, you actually become close in a different way," she explained.

And in the end, "He showed himself to be a true hero in how he approached his disease," Lisa said.

"The amount of lovingness and kindness, I saw wisdom in him that was beyond anything I'd seen before," she added.