Terminally Ill Father Dies After Dancing with Daughter in Heartwarming Wedding Video
An Alabama father has died of brain cancer less than two weeks after dancing with his daughter at her wedding in a sweet video that captured the internet's heart.
On Dec. 29, Jim Roberts sang and smiled as his daughter Mary Bourne Butts pushed his wheelchair across the dance floor to Lee Ann Womack's “I Hope You Dance” at her wedding to James Butts.
Roberts died around noon on Thursday, a family friend told WKRG.
When Roberts was diagnosed with glioblastoma — a fast-growing brain tumor — in May 2017 and began hospice care, the doting father didn't know whether he'd live to see his daughter's wedding date, according to the station.
Roberts and Mary Bourne had long dreamed of the day they'd share the special dance at her wedding, and were excited when she and James got engaged. Despite Roberts' illness, the father-daughter duo were determined to make it happen.
“We weren't sure how he was going to even feel that day,” Mary Bourne told Fox News. “We just knew that we were going to do it somehow.”
And they did. Mary Bourne and James wed last month at St. Francis at the Point in Point Clear, and Roberts, who uses a wheelchair, walked Mary Bourne down the aisle in front of their 175 guests, according to Fox News.
During the reception, Mary Bourne and Roberts shared their long-awaited father-daughter dance, with Mary Bourne pushing her smiling father as the guests looked on. Roberts appeared to sing the song and even became emotional during the dance.
The Facebook video has been viewed over 564,000 times.
“It was such a good thing to happen to him,” Tracy Roberts, mother of the bride and Roberts' wife, told AL.com. “He would have cried through the whole thing even if he'd been on his feet.”
Tracy added that the dance was a testimony of Mary Bourne's love for her dad.
“He was overwhelmed with pride and the love he feels for her,” Tracy told the publication. “It was a great day for him, a beautiful, perfect day for all of us.”