Ellen DeGeneres and Katy Perry surprised Tony Marrero, a survivor of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.
The Orlando shooting victim was not expecting this huge surprise after he shared his tragic experience with Ellen DeGeneres on The Ellen Show.
Tony Marrero was lucky to survive the horrible incident, but his friend, Luis Vielma, was not as fortunate. The duo headed out to Pulse nightclub together on the same evening in June when Omar Mateen opened fire and killed 49 people. Luis Vielma was one of those people.
Ellen DeGeneres recalled that Marrero had said he had listened to Katy Perry’s song “Rise” after the tragedy. Marrero said that the song helped him to heal both physically and emotionally.
Tony listened to the song repetitively while recovering from the horrific shooting that claimed the lives of 49 people, and injured 53 others.
Katy Perry released “Rise” back in July and it was used as the official theme song for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Katy Perry is pretty much the queen of inspirational pop songs.
“I won’t just survive / Oh, you will see me thrive / Can’t write my story / I’m beyond the archetype,” Perry belts in the song. “I won’t just conform / No matter how you shake my core / ‘Cause my roots, they run deep.”
The gentleman from Florida went on to explain that he was shot four times in the back and once in the arm, but managed to make it out alive that night.
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Katy Perry and Tony Marrero shared an emotional hug before the victim told the singer how much of an influence her music has had on him.
“I just want to say ‘thank you’ for everything you do. Your lyrics to that song helped me from the day that I was in the hospital all the way to now. You’re amazing.”
Marrero’s boyfriend looked on from the audience as the victim explained how much that song in particular had helped him through such a difficult time.
“The lyrics to that song are so powerful. Every word in that song is just powerful.
“And I embraced it … I play it and play it and play it because it’s just so beautiful.”
Perry was emotional as well when she met Tony on stage.
“We’re both electrified by each other and so inspired.
“We’re both lights.”
DeGeneres and Perry had one more surprise for Tony. The singer announced that she would be personally funding Tony Marrero’s first year at film school, which fulfilled a longtime dream of his.
“I heard that you want to go to film school, so I personally want to pay for your first year at film school.”
Watch the entire clip below and see Perry and DeGeneres surprise Tony Marrero in the video. Get your tissues ready.
Click the video below to watch the extended version and listen to Tony Marrero’s full story.
[Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images]