EW Staff
September 15, 2009 AT 04:53 AM EDT

Kenny Ortega, choreographer for Dirty Dancing and To Wong Foo…, has joined colleagues in paying tribute to Patrick Swayze. “Patrick was a great human being who I knew as a loving son, husband, brother and friend. He was one of the most creative, enjoyable and ALIVE people I knew. He did as much for dancing as any man of our generation. Patrick loved life, and had SUCH an enthusiasm for everything he did. If he could climb it he climbed it. If he could write it, he wrote it. If he could dance it, well, we all know he did. He lived,” Ortega said in a statement.

He continued: “There was a great circle of friends on Dirty Dancing, we became a family: Patrick, Jen, Emile, Eleanor, all of us tucked away in the mountains. There was something there behind the film, the hearts that were all in it together, lovingly connected. Patrick Swayze was a loving and soulful man. The planet has lost a big heart. And I, a forever friend. My loving thoughts to Lisa, Patsy, and his entire family.”

Read more Swayze tributes from Demi Moore, Jennifer Grey, and other colleagues.

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