Camilo Villegas’ daughter Mia passed away Sunday in Miami after battling tumors on her brain and spine. She was 22 months old.
“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, a four-time PGA TOUR winner, discussed his daughter’s health problems last month during a tearful press conference prior to the Korn Ferry Challenge at TPC Sawgrass. At the time, he said he and wife Maria first noticed a problem with Mia in late February while he was playing The Honda Classic.
“She always went to the gym with me; it was one of our bonding spots,” Villegas recalled. “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.”
On March 14, the Villegas’ took Mía to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami for scans. The results revealed tumors growing on her brain and spine. Mía underwent surgery, but Camilo and Maria were told there would be more treatment to come, because of persisting issues.
“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.”
The alternative became what Villegas referred to as “baby chemotherapy.” He remembers asking the doctor about the strength of this course of treatment for his daughter.
“He said that if he had given me the treatment, I wouldn’t have survived,” Villegas said.
Each round of chemotherapy took upwards of a month.
“It’s not easy, but I have actually seen Mía playing while she’s crying,” Villegas 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.”
Villegas has not played since finishing T-33 at the Korn Ferry Tour event in June. Mia was the only daughter for Camilo and Maria.
“My wife has been very, very strong,” Villegas said of Maria. “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.”
Source: PGA tour