As part of our Late Greats tribute package, EW asked the friends and colleagues to share their memories of the stars we lost in 2009.

Patrick Swayze

Aug. 18, 1952 – Sept. 14, 2009

By C. Thomas Howell

Most of the people who were close to Patrick called him “Buddy.” He was maybe 30 when we did The Outsiders. And Buddy played the older brother, but he really was the older brother.

He was always setting the example of what we should be doing. He always had a guitar slung over his shoulder. The one thing that was great about him was also the most irritating fact about him: He was always somehow better than you, no matter what it was you were doing. It didn’t matter if you were on horseback, shooting weapons, roller- skating, or reciting Shakespeare. He was a tough f—er and a free spirit. (Swayze died of pancreatic cancer in L.A.)

Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Keep reading for This is It guitarist Orianthi’s tribute to Michael Jackson, after the jump.

Michael Jackson

Aug. 29, 1958 — June 25, 2009

By Orianthi

He was the greatest entertainer that ever lived. He was such a perfectionist, but so kind with it. He wanted those of us who were working with him on the This Is It concerts to all have our moments and to not be nervous, and just project our energy, because that’s what he did. Just seeing him dance in front of me for the first time was incredible. I think it was “Human Nature.” I was only six feet away from him and he started dancing. I got home and I was still so excited, I told my sister. Working with him was a dream come true. He was so personable. He would chat with each and every one of us. If he wanted anything changed, he would say, “I’m saying this with love.” It felt like a family. (Jackson died of cardiac arrest in L.A. Orianthi is a guitarist who worked on the This Is It tour.)

Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur

For more Late Greats tributes — including Matthew Broderick on John Hughes, Keith Carradine on David Carradine, and Kenny Ortega on Michael Jackson — pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Nov. 27.