“I am so sad to say that last night my daddy, Greg passed away from stage 4 cancer,” Hudgens, 27, tweeted. “Thank you to everyone who kept him in your prayers.”
“Tonight, I do the show in his honor,” she added.
The High School Musical star first opened up about her father’s illness in an emotional acceptance speech in August.
“Last year, my boyfriend Austin lost his mom Lori to cancer, and my dad has just been recently diagnosed with stage four cancer,” Hudgens said. “Let me tell you, I hate cancer. I hate cancer with every cell of my being.”
Ashley Tisdale talks girls night with Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez
“If you would have asked me two years ago what I thought of cancer, I would have said, ‘Man, you know it sucks. It’s a horrible disease,’ but that’s only because I had not been faced with it personally,” Hudgens said.
She continued, “This award, it means a lot to me,” she added. “But I dedicate it to my boyfriend’s mom, Lori, my dad, and to all the families out there who are struggling with this because it really takes a strong person and a strong family to be able to help those out who are going through this.”
Ahead of the show, Hudgens told PEOPLE how much the original movie had impacted her childhood.
“From the first time I saw it, I kind of just remember it being a part of my childhood,” she said. “I always knew all the songs. It’s just one of those musicals that you never get sick of because it’s so much fun. It feels like a big party and you get to be a part of it. when I got the call saying that they were interested in me as Rizzo I said, really? Because I’ve always thought of myself as Sandy and the more that I thought over it, the more that I realized that this was an awesome opportunity to play a character that I’ve never played before she’s so strong and such an amazing woman figure in musical theater history.”
• With reporting by PATRICK GOMEZ