Patrick Swayze's family were today mourning the Hollywood star who died Monday from pancreatic cancer.

"He was born with a star on his head," said his Irish American Mom Patsy.

Patsy who was a top dance teacher, said Patrick was born eight weeks premature.

"It was a very traumatic birth. I was lying unconscious when he came out and they thought they had lost him."

And she described how "a little Irish nun" held him out to her and whispered: "Your baby was born with a star on his head."

Patsy's own mother was a nurse and a supervisor in the hospital and Patsy described how they battled to save little Patrick's life.

"When my mother heard about the baby, she just barrelled in and took over.

"She breathed into his mouth to keep him alive until my aunt, who was the hospital paediatrician, took over. If it hadn't been for this, I don't think he would have lived."

She told Scotland's Sunday Mail in 1995 that Patrick lived his life as a challenge from a young age.

She described how Patrick had to face schoolyard bullies when he decided to start dancing.

"At 12, he asked me: 'What do you do when you're carrying your violin case, have your ballet
shoes in your pocket, and people are teasing you?'

"I said: 'Ignore them because they either don't understand or they're jealous.'

"He persisted: 'But mom, what if they still keep teasing?'

"I told him: 'You take those shoes out of your pocket and beat the snuff out of 'em!'

"Apparently, five boys had beaten Patrick up.

"He went to the sports coach and arranged to fight them one by one in the gym. He beat them all."