After surviving the Orlando nightclub shooting that killed 49 this past June, Tony Marrerolooked to Katy Perry’s music for comfort.
And during his recent appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Tony finally got to tell the pop singer in person how much he’s helped her following the tragedy. Amid talking to Ellen DeGeneres of the impact her song «Rise» made during his recovery process, Katy—tears in her eyes—walked out onstage to surprise Tony.
The two then shared an emotional hug, before Perry told Marrero, «I don’t know how I’m going to get through this. Your story is so inspirational.»
Tony attended Pulse nightclub on the evening of the shooting with his best friend and co-worker, 22-year-old Luis Vielma. While Luis did not survive, doctors considered Tony’s survival a miracle because despite being shot four times in the back and once in the arm, none of the bullets hit any vital organs or his spinal cord. Recounting the heartbreaking event to Ellen, Marrero also shared that he had «died» on the way to the hospital.
But a surprise visit wasn’t all the 31-year-old had in store for her fan, telling Marrero, «I heard that you’re creative just like me and you have dreams and you want to go out there and do good and fulfill them.»
She continued, «I heard that you want to go to film school so I personally want to pay for your first year at film school.»
In addition to the incredible gesture, DeGeneres gifted Tony with a private screening of Finding Dory and donated $25,000 to the foundation benefiting Pulse victims via Shutterfly.