Camilo Villegas, 38, and his wife Maria are grieving the heartbreaking loss of their 22-month-old daughter Mia after she tragically died of brain and spine cancer on July 26. The PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahane issued an emotional statement that confirmed the professional golfer’s loss on July 28. “The PGA Tour is deeply saddened having lost a member of our family, Mia Villegas,” he said. “We grieve with Camilo and Maria and our thoughts and prayers are with the Villegas family.”
Here are five things you should know about Camilo and his daughter’s challenging fight.
1.) He first publicly talked about Mia’s cancer in June 2020. He tearfully spoke at a press conference during the Korn Ferry Tour Challenge at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida on June 10 and explained that she was undergoing her second round of chemotherapy for the illness after being diagnosed a few months prior in March. He also said she had a surgical procedure in addition to the treatments and revealed he noticed something was wrong earlier in the year.
“She always went to the gym with me; it was one of our bonding spots,” he said at the press conference. “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.”
He then went on to give some details on the treatment process. “After the surgery, when it was time to remove the stitches, they learned the growth had become pretty aggressive,” he explained. “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.”
3.) He’s a four-time PGA tour winner. Before starting a family, Camilo, who is from Colombia, went professional in the sport of golf in 2004 and went on to win various impressive titles, including his first PGA tour title when he won the BMW Championship in 2008. He also spent over 30 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Rankings and at one point, he was the highest ranked golfer in South America.
4.) His wife, Maria gave an indication of Mia’s challenges in a special Mother’s Day Instagram post. The proud mother posted photos with the baby girl on May 10 that showed them standing in front of colorful angel wings that were painted on an outside wall behind them, which you can see below. She wrote a loving message that expressed her gratitude and feelings over their “difficult challenge” to go along with it.
“Mia ❤️ 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 🌈,” the message began. “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 ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜”
“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,” she continued. “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! ❤️🌈💚”
5.) In addition to golfing, he has business experience. He graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2004, the same year he became a professional golfer. He still visits the university’s Mark Bostick Golf Course when he’s spending time at his home in Gainesville, FL.