The 22-month-old daughter of golfer Camilo Villegas of Colombia has died from tumors on her brain and spine, the PGA Tour announced Monday.
Mia Villegas was diagnosed March 14, two weeks after Villegas and his wife, Maria, noticed she wasn't as playful. Tests showed tumors on her brain and spine. She had surgery, and then chemotherapy. The tour said she died Sunday night.
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said: "The PGA TOUR is deeply saddened having lost a member of our family, Mia Villegas. We grieve with Camilo and Maria and our thoughts and prayers are with the Villegas family."
Villegas, whose four PGA Tour victories include consecutive wins in the BMW Championship and Tour Championship to close out the 2008 season, spoke of her health when he played a Korn Ferry Tour event last month.
"It's been tough," Villegas said during an emotional news conference in June.
"I'm probably going to get emotional but that's fine.
"It's inspiring, to see my little one fighting.
"My wife has been very strong, and you've got to follow your instincts, and honestly I don't know if my instincts are to come play this week.
"I don't really know where my mind is. I know where my heart is. But you also have to listen to the people that love you.
"My wife said, 'Just go out there and enjoy. Golf is what you've done for years, golf has given you so many great things'."
Villegas and wife Maria first noticed something was wrong in February when their daughter kept crying more than usual.
"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 paediatrician, thinking it was that."
They took Mia to Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami for scans in March, which is when doctors confirmed tumours were growing on her brain and spine.
"After the surgery, when it was time to remove the stitches, they learned the growth had become pretty aggressive.
"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."
Villegas hasn't played since finishing 33rd at the Korn Ferry Tour event in June.
- with AP