John Wayne’s son carrying on father’s legacy through cancer research

Patrick said that even though he was father was always an “incredibly courageous man,” it was in those final six weeks that his bravery reached a peak. “He never complained, all he thought about was if he could help someone else,” he said. “We all thought he had it under control and was going to win this battle.”

John Wayne remains one of the most iconic figures in American cinematic history – from a Civil War veteran in “The Searchers” to a U.S. marshal “True Grit” – his gun slinging, cowboy hat wearing and outspokenly conservative political persona was box office gold for several decades.

While it has been over thirty-five years since he died of stomach cancer, John Wayne’s legacy continues to have a powerful impact in the quest to eradicate the disease.

“When we started this organization, we had no idea what would happen. But all these years on, and John Wayne is still very popular…and he is able to make a difference,” Wayne’s son Patrick told FOX411 at the annual John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary (JWCIA) in Beverly Hills on Thursday. “His name still means a lot around the world.”

Even in his dying days, Patrick says his father remained strong and no one ever really thought his illness would claim his life.

“The problem was that so many people saw him as a two-dimensional person, but he was as multi-layered and as human as they come,” Patrick explained. “He was a very vulnerable person, but he wasn’t a person who was shriveling up and dying. We all thought he was going to beat this. That’s what you just thought of John Wayne. But in reality, he was just a human being like the rest of us.”

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