Pop Culture

Katy Perry, Orlando shooting survivor have tearful, emotional meeting on 'Ellen'

After Tony Marrero survived being shot four times in the back during the Orlando nightclub massacre in June, he found strength in a not-so-surprising place. As he told Ellen DeGeneres on "Ellen" recently, listening to Katy Perry's "Rise" helped during his recovery.

"The lyrics to that song are so powerful," he said.

The 30-year-old could never have expected what happened next, though. Ellen asked him, "You want to meet Katy?"

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And then there was Katy, walking out on stage, waving to the audience. The two fell into each others' arms, weeping.

"Your story is so inspirational," she told him once they were seated and somewhat composed.

It truly is; Marrero was one of the lucky ones, because 49 people were killed on the night of the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in an attack that specifically targeted members of the LGBTQ community. He lost his best friend, Luis.

"We were just about to leave and as soon as we started heading to the door, that's when we heard the gunshots," Marrero told DeGeneres. "Me and Luis, we looked at each other and we just hit the ground. That's the last time I saw him."

Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.
Katy Perry with Tony Marrero and Ellen DeGeneres after things calmed down a bit.

As he told Perry, "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 to now."

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But that wasn't the only surprise he had coming to him. Marrero, who aspires to make movies, got a big present from Perry.

"I heard that you want to go to film school, so I personally want to pay for your first year," she said.

Wonders never cease.

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