Pro Golfer Camilo Villegas' daughter Mia died on Sunday in Miami after battling cancerous tumors on her brain and spine, the PGA Tour announced on Monday. She was 22 months old. Villegas, a four-time PGA Tour winner, announced in June that he and his wife Maria took their daughter to Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami for scans in March as they thought she was sick.
In an emotional press conference, Villegas said: "She 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." When the couple took Mia to the hospital, doctors discovered she had tumors growing in her brain and spine. Mia underwent surgery, but Villegas and his wife were told there would be additional treatment.
"After the surgery, when it was time to remove the stitches, they learned the growth had become pretty aggressive, he said. Villegas noted that Mia "needed to start treatment right away," but she "wasn't ready to get the kind of chemo the doctors were hoping for" from a physical standpoint. That led to the doctors giving Mia alternative rounds of chemo. Each round took upwards of a month.
"My wife has been very, very strong," Villegas said of Maria. Villegas also said there is no option "other than to be strong. You can either be strong or you can give up." Villegas then added he didn't want anyone to " feel sad for the Villegas family because all he wants is to receive the good energy."
The PGA TOUR is deeply saddened having lost a member of our family, Mia Villegas," PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement Monday. "We grieve with Camilo and Maria, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Villegas family."
Villegas has not played since finishing tied for 33rd in the Korn Ferry Tour event in June. He joined the PGA tour in 2004, and 2008 was his best year, finishing tied for fourth place in the PGA Championship and ninth in the U.S. Open. In 2009, Villegas tied for 13th in the Masters and The Open Championship.