Katy Perry had a tear-jerking meeting with Orlando shooting survivor Tony Marrero in the latest episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
On Thursday, Sept. 8, 30-year-old Marrero appeared on Ellen DeGeneres’ show and opened up about the horror he experienced on the night of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting on June 12. He was among the dozens who were injured following the LGBT nightclub shooting, which killed 49 people, Us Weekly noted.
Marrero told DeGeneres that he had been shot a told of five times, four in the back and once in the arm. He added that he believes he survived the ordeal because he managed to protect his head by hiding it underneath a couch. The Florida resident also talked about his struggle while recovering from his many injuries at the hospital, sharing that Perry’s latest single “Rise” was one of the things that got him through the difficult time.
“I won't just survive / Oh, you will see me thrive / Can't write my story / I'm beyond the archetype / I won't just conform / No matter how you shake my core / 'Cause my roots, they run deep,” Perry sings in the track, which was released in July as the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics’ official theme.
Marrero, whose boyfriend was in the audience during his “Ellen” appearance, shared that Perry’s message in the song was “powerful,” so he replayed it over and over again. “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,” he told the 58-year-old TV host.
DeGeneres agreed that the song is indeed beautiful, right before surprising Marrero by welcoming Perry to the stage. He was overcome with emotion and started crying when he saw the 31-year-old pop star, who walked out to the set to the sound of “Rise.” Perry also immediately began tearing up as she gave him a big hug.
“I just want to say thank you for everything you do. Your lyrics to [“Rise”] helped me from the day I was in the hospital all the way until now. You’re amazing,” Marrero told the “Roar” hitmaker after they sat down to continue the interview.
Perry then told Marrero, “We’re both electrified by each other and so inspired. We’re both lights. Life isn’t easy, and you need little reliefs, through songs, quite possibly. I’m happy to be a joy, I’m happy to be a light, and I’m happy I could be there in my own little way to help you.”
Perry had another surprise for Marrero, however, because she then told the aspiring filmmaker that she would pay for his first year of film school. Watch the emotional moment between Perry and Marrero on “Ellen” below!