Golf

Camilo Villegas Never Shied Away From His Emotions Before His Daughter’s Tragic Death

Camilo Villegas is one of the toughest and most honest golfers on the PGA Tour. That’s never been more evident than in the past few months, as Villegas and his wife Maria have dealt with something no parents should ever be forced to endure. Their daughter Mia was diagnosed with tumors on her brain and spine in March. Since then, Villegas has taken time away from golf to spend the last few weeks with his family. After a four-month battle with her condition, Mia passed away on Sunday, July 16, 2020, at the young age of 22 months.

Camilo Villegas has been extremely candid about his daughter’s condition

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Being a professional athlete can be a blessing and a curse. For one, you get to live out your childhood dreams and gain a loyal following. On the other hand, though, almost every part of your life becomes public knowledge. Privacy is rare in sports, and most athletes try to keep personal hardships out of the public light.

Villegas, however, has been surprisingly candid about his daughter’s battle and the strain it’s put on his family. In an emotional press conference last month, Villegas described Mia’s diagnosis and how he handled the news.

[Mia] always went to the gym with me; it was one of our bonding spots. She was always like a little monkey, climbing on everything. But then one day, I noticed she had not been climbing on anything. She had also been crying a little more than normal at night. She had been teething, so we took her to the pediatrician, thinking it was that.

Camilo Villegas

When Villegas and his wife brought Mia to the hospital for tests, they were devastated to learn the results.

Villegas had an inspiring performance in his last golf tournament

After his daughter’s diagnosis, Villegas spent some time away from golf to be with his family. In June, he returned to play on the Korn Ferry Tour at TPC Sawgrass, and his performance was nothing short of inspirational.

Even with everything Villegas was dealing with in his personal life, he shot a 3-under 67 in the first round of the tournament. At one point, he was 5-under through 10 holes and held the solo lead.

Villegas finished the tournament in a tie for 33rd, an astounding feat for someone in his position.

Villegas’ daughter Mia passed away Sunday

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As inspiring as Villegas’ Korn Ferry Tour performance was, he still had to face reality when he got home in Miami, Fla. His daughter’s condition was worsening, but Villegas and his wife Maria never wavered in their faith and love.

My wife has been very, very strong. But, at the same time, I’ve also known that there is no option other than to be strong. You can either be strong or you can give up. … I do not want anyone to feel sad for the Villegas family. This is our reality and all I want is to receive the good energy.

Camilo Villegas

Villegas’ daughter Mia passed away on July 26, 2020, after her battle with tumors in her brain and spine. She was just 22 months old.

“The PGA TOUR is deeply saddened having lost a member of our family, Mia Villegas,” PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan said. “We grieve with Camilo and Maria and our thoughts and prayers are with the Villegas family.”