Golfer Camilo Villegas' Daughter Mia, 22 Months, Dies After Battle with Brain and Spine Cancer

The athlete revealed last month that his only child Mia would be undergoing chemotherapy for tumors found on her brain and spine

Camilo Villegas
Camilo Villegas on June 10. Photo: Stan Badz/PGA TOUR/Getty

Camilo Villegas' 22-month old daughter has died after undergoing treatment for cancer of the brain and spine.

On Monday, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan issued a statement about the golfer's loss, confirming that Villegas’ daughter Mia died on Sunday in Miami. Villegas, 38, revealed last month that his only child, whom he shared with wife Maria, had tumors on her brain and spine and would be receiving a second round of chemotherapy.

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

Speaking at a June 10 press conference during the Korn Ferry Tour Challenge at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, the four-time PGA Tour winner shared that Mia was diagnosed in March and had a surgical procedure, followed by more treatments. Villegas opened up about noticing something was wrong earlier this year.

"She always went to the gym with me; it was one of our bonding spots," Villegas recalled at the time. "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."

"After the surgery, when it was time to remove the stitches, they learned the growth had become pretty aggressive," he said. "We were told we needed to start treatment right away, so they kept us there. Physically, though, she wasn't ready to get the kind of chemo doctors were hoping for."

As Mia underwent several rounds of chemotherapy, Villegas said that she remained "really tough."

"It's not easy, but I have actually seen Mía playing while she's crying," he said. “She does want to play. She’s a kid. She’s young and naïve, but she’s also really tough. We just don’t know. The doctors explained that sometimes the tumors grow fast and disappear fast.”

Announcing the birth of Mia on October 3, 2018, Villegas shared a sweet photo of his newborn on Instagram, writing that he "simply can’t stop smiling." The athlete, last month, asked for good energy from fans, rather than for anyone to "feel sad."

“My wife has been very, very strong,” Villegas said. “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.”

On May 10, Maria posted a touching tribute to her daughter, writing on Instagram that "being your mom has been the greatest gift in my life!"

"I thank God every day for this experience that we are going through together 🌈 Yes, it has been the most difficult challenge I have ever experienced but it has also been the most beautiful, I am thankful for the lessons. You are the strongest warrior and I am so proud of you, of us ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜," she wrote at the time.

"I know you all have been thinking of us and I am so grateful! I want you to know something... there’s nothing to feel sorry or sad about what we are experiencing," continued Maria. "I only ask you all for one thing and that is POSITIVE HEALING THOUGHTS, when you think of Mia or us, just close your eyes and see her, see us, being happy and healthy 🙌🏻🙏🏻 that’s the greatest gift you can give us! Love you all and congrats to all the AMAZING Mamas! ❤️🌈💚."

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