Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, lost his battle with a rare form of pancreatic cancer on Wed., Oct. 5, at age 56. Until recent years, pancreatic cancer did not have much of a place in public consciousness, but a number of high-profile people with the disease -- Jobs in particular -- have raised awareness about the lethal disease, which claims the lives of 95% of those diagnosed within five years.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 37,680 Americans (18,770 men and 18,910 women) will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2008. About 34,290 Americans (17,500 men and 16,790 women) will die of pancreatic cancer in 2008, making it the fourth deadliest cancer.
Here are some other people who succumbed to pancreatic cancer.
Patrick Swayze, of Dirty Dancing and Roadhouse fame, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January 2008, and died on Sept. 14, 2009 at age 57.
Swayze's cancer had spread to his liver by the time he was diagnosed, and he went through intense treatment but no surgery.
Joan Crawford died of a heart attack while suffering from pancreatic cancer on May 8, 1977 - nearly three years after her final public appearance. There are few details available about her disease, but it is known that the actress was in declining health during the 1970s, and some believe heavy drinking may have been a factor.
Crawford reportedly gave up drinking in 1974.
Michael Landon, the beloved actor famous for his roles on Bonanza and Little House on the Prarie, died of pancreatic cancer on July 1, 1991 - just three months after his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer that had spread to his lymphnodes and liver. He maintained a positive attitude in public after his diagnosis, despite being told that his cancer was terminal.
Dizzy Gillespie, jazz trumpet virtuoso, died of pancreatic cancer on Jan.6, 1993 at age 75.
Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie-Mellon University, died of pancreatic cancer on July 25, 2008; nearly two years after his initial diagnosis. Pausch became a well-known inspirational figure during his cancer fight. On September 18, 2007, he delivered an instantly famous speech , or Last Lecture, titled Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams. Hyperion publishing group offered $6.7 million to publish a book about Pausch inspired by his speech, which spent 85 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list after being published in 2008.
Donna Reed, the actress who starred in It's a Wonderful Life and From Here to Eternity died of pancreatic cancer on January 14, 1986, at age 64. She had been diagnosed three months earlier.
Luciano Pavarotti, the famous Italian opera singer, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July 2006 and died in September 2007 at the age of 71.
Steve Jobs Reuters
Patrick Swayze, of “Dirty Dancing” and “Roadhouse” fame, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January 2008, and died on Sept. 14, 2009 at age 57. Reuters
Pop star Michael Jackson and Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti talk during the filming of a television show in Milan in this May 5, 1997 file photo. Reuters