The late actor`s wife-of-34-years, Lisa Niemi, did not know what to expect when doctors broke the news of his illness in March 2008 but her spouse instantly feared the worst.
She said: "I know when he got pancreatic cancer I didn`t know much about it. He knew, and his first thought was `I`m a dead man.-"
However, Lisa admitted even a terminal illness could not prevent her husband - who died in September 2009 at the age of 57 - from returning to work on TV drama `The Beast`.
She explained: "There was a nurse who said `Don`t you think you`ve worked hard enough?` He looked at me like, `How dare she tell me when to stop. `"
Lisa and Patrick never had children together and the actress admits she would have loved to raise a family with the actor.
Speaking on US TV programme `The Early Show`, she said: "Oh I would have loved to have had children, but for whatever reason that wasn`t in the cards."
Although Patrick was not optimistic about his chances of recovery after he was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, Lisa is now spearheading an initiative to find a cure for the disease, which is one of the deadliest forms of the illness.
As a spokeswoman for the Pan-Can Action Network, Lisa said: "It`s a merciless deadly disease and it is so severely under-funded it just blows your mind, and that has to change."