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OTRC: Patrick Dempsey's mother dies at age 79 after battling cancer

Patrick Dempsey and his mother, Amanda Dempsey, appear in an undated photo posted on the website of the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing on March 25, 2014. Amanda died of cancer a day earlier. (Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing)

Patrick Dempsey's mother, Amanda Dempsey, has died at age 79 after battling ovarian cancer on and off since 1997.

After she was diagnosed several years ago, the "Grey's Anatomy" actor and his two sisters helped create a cancer support organization at a hospital in Maine, where his mother had been treated, according to the Associated Press, which carried the report. The outlet quoted center officials as saying she died on Monday, March 24, surrounded by family

UPDATE: On Thursday, March 27, Dempsey tweeted: "Thank you all for your support & condolences during this difficult time. My mom was a remarkable woman. She will be missed."

"The entire Central Maine Medical family mourns the passing of Amanda Dempsey," Peter Chalke, President and CEO of Central Maine Healthcare, said in a statement posted on the website of the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing on Tuesday, March 25. "Amanda Dempsey was both a great lady and a determined fighter who displayed tremendous courage, class and grace during her long battle with cancer."

The statement said that Dempsey's "experience of dealing with his mother's illness while living in California" led to the creation of the organization at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, where Amanda had received cancer treatment, in 2008. The Dempsey Center's Healing Garden will now be named in Amanda's honor. She had for five years led the survivor walk during the Dempsey Challenge, a fundraising event that raised $5 million for the organization.

"It was not uncommon for Amanda to be behind the scenes volunteering at the Center, sewing handmade comfort items to be given to cancer patients, keeping an eye on the quality control of the items or tidying up the storage closet, the group's statement said "She often brought in apples she picked from her own apple trees, or homemade jam, and even sewed individualized door hangings for staff members' offices when the center moved to its new location in 2012."

"In a way, Amanda was like a mother to all who walked through the doors of the Dempsey Center, whether they even knew it or not," it added.