Taylor Swift chokes up onstage addressing mum's battle with cancer

The singer also gives rare performance of 'Ronan' to pay tribute to a little boy and his mother who inspired her

By Andrea Tim | Published: 19 Aug 2015

Taylor tears up
Taylor Swift with the Thompson family (Photo: mamamaya/Instagram)

At her Glendale, Arizona concert on Monday, Taylor Swift teared up as she talked about her mother's battle with cancer and recalled the story of a boy named Ronan Thompson who died from cancer three days before he would have turned four in May 2011. She paid tribute to him by performing her charity song Ronan, which was inspired by him.

"There's a woman here tonight named Maya Thompson," Taylor told her audience. "And she has lived in this area and brought her kids up in this area. And I wouldn't know half as much as I know about childhood cancer and childhood cancer research if she hadn't shared her story about her son Ronan. The thing about childhood cancer is that it's really, really hard to talk about. And it's really not something that you bring up because it makes everyone really, really upset. But the fact that she brought it up, she had this blog called Rockstar Ronan and I would read it every night. And in it was this account of what it was like to watch cancer take over my life."

"Since then, I've had cancer hit really close to me in my family," the singer added, referring to her mother's own diagnosis, which they announced in April. "So because Maya's right there, I would like you to give her a round of applause, please. I just wanted to take a moment and try to play this song...I think because Maya's here tonight, I think she deserves it."

The only other time she's performed Ronan live was on a Stand Up To Cancer show in September 2012. All the proceeds from Ronan went to the Ronan Thompson Foundation and other childhood cancer research.

Maya took to Instagram to thank Taylor for the tribute.

"I still can't believe tonight. I still can't believe you did this. This will forever be one of the most special moments of my life. Thank you @taylorswift for your beautiful heart and for never forgetting my Ro. I love you to the moon and back," she wrote.

Pass the tissues, guys. Damn those ninjas cutting onions.

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