Taylor Swift Gets Choked Up Talking About Cancer, Gives Rare Performance of “Ronan”

Taylor Swift Alludes to Mom's Cancer Battle in Emotional "Ronan"
Taylor Swift gave a rare performance of her song "Ronan," about a little boy who died of cancer, in honor of the boy's mom, who was at her concert on Aug. 17  Awais/PacificCoastNews

Taylor Swift's 1989 tour generally looks like a parade of nonstop fun and celebrity cameos, but Monday's concert in Glendale, Ariz., was different — and very special. The "Bad Blood" singer, 25, gave a rare (and super emotional) performance of her song "Ronan," which she wrote based on a blog from Maya Thompson, the mother of a little boy, Ronan, who died of cancer at age 4. 

Thompson, who's credited as a co-writer on the tune, was in the audience at Swift's show on Monday, Aug. 17, so the "Style" hitmaker took the opportunity to offer a special dedication.

"In my opinion, one of the bravest things that a human being could ever do is to go through something absolutely unbearable and then share their experience with the world. And I think the braver you are, the more brutally honest you are," Swift told the crowd of screaming fans.

"There's a woman here tonight named Maya Thompson," she continued, strumming her guitar. "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."

Swift choked back tears as she went on to talk about Thompson's blog, Rockstar Ronan. "I would read it every night," she recalled. "And in it was this account of what it's like to watch cancer take over your life. And since then, I've had cancer hit really close to me in my family." 

As previously reported, the 1989 superstar revealed back in April that her mom, Andrea, had been diagnosed with cancer. 

Swift was no doubt thinking about Andrea as she sang on Monday, but she kept the focus on Ronan's family.

After asking the crowd to give Thompson a round of applause, the pop princess introduced her performance of "Ronan," which she originally released in 2012 as a charity single. (Proceeds for the song go to various cancer charities, including the Ronan Thompson Foundation.)

"I just wanted to take a moment to try and play this song," she said. "I can't promise that I will sing it well or not get really emotional, but I'm gonna try…I think because Maya's here tonight, I think she deserves it." 

Thompson later acknowledged the emotional moment on Instagram, sharing a clip of Swift's speech with the caption: "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."

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