Pat Connors, the Tucson restaurateur who held his own pre-wake wake last week to say goodbye to friends and family, died early Sunday. He was 48 and had been battling lung cancer since October.

At the party Tuesday in his restaurant, Connors said he was beating cancer in his own way, hosting a party and smiling as bright as he could in the face of imminent death.

"I’m beating it smiling. I beat it with who I am. I’m not being beaten down as someone who can’t do everything," he said as a line that grew to a couple hundred people filled his Campbell Avenue restaurant Pastiche. "I can do everything I want. A lot of times you go to a cancer ward and people can’t move because they are in so much pain, so much sickness. To me I’m doing it on my terms.”

Connors death came nearly two weeks after he was admitted to Tucson Medical Center's hospice facility Peppi's House. He underwent four rounds of chemotherapy before doctors determined his cancer had spread beyond treatment. 

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch

I cover music for the Arizona Daily Star.