In a heartbreaking decision, Patrick Swayze turned down a last-ditch effort to prolong his life by removing a lung which didn’t respond to treatment, The ENQUIRER has learned exclusively.

After putting up with a year of grueling chemotherapy, inflammation and infection, the 56-year-old actor received even more bad news. He couldn’t begin another round of chemotherapy unless the lung was either cleared of infection or removed, say insiders.

"The infection hadn’t responded to treatment, and breathing became so hard for him that his family and friends, and his doctors, were desperate to provide any relief," revealed a friend.

An avid outdoorsman and lover of life, Patrick always cherished the time he spent on his ranch and did not welcome death. "But after months of painful treatments and fighting so hard just to get up in the mornings, he felt he had done all he could," said his friend.

"Patrick explained to his family, friends – and doctors – that at some point you get tired of fighting every minute of every day. The quality of his life was almost completely gone, and if he was meant to die, they just had to let him go.

"Patrick decided to keep taking his meds and getting the buildup of fluid drained from his stomach, but did not plan to undergo any more major treatments or surgeries."

As The ENQUIRER revealed in our April 27 issue, the star decided to sign a "Do Not Resuscitate" order after being told he had a severe lung infection, which could possibly lead to a heart attack.

"In a last-ditch effort to give him more time, doctors offered Patrick a drastic solution – they could remove the infected lung," revealed the friend.

FOR THE FULL STORY of brave Patrick’s desperate fight for life – pick up the New ENQUIRER – on sale now!