It can be easy to forget that sports stars, however remarkable, are just people.
Australian golfer Jason Day has always said without his mum Dening, he’d never have made it to number one in the world, and now, at the height of his career, he’s stepping aside because she needs him.
The 29-year-old broke down today in front of a room full of journalists as he announced he would be taking indefinite leave from the sport he loves, because the woman he loves above all else is sick.
“[My mum] has lung cancer. At the start of the year, she was diagnosed with 12 months to live,” he said, fighting back tears.
“She’s going in for surgery this Friday and it’s really had to even comprehend being on the golf course right now because of what she’s gone through,” he said.
Day is currently number three in the world, but he walked off the course just six holes into the opening round of the World Matchplay Championship in Austin on Thursday.
Some speculated the defending champion may be injured, but he was simply feeling the toll of his mother’s potentially terminal illness.
Earlier this year, she was given a year to live when a 3-4cm mass was discovered on her lungs, according to the PGA Tour website.
Last week, Day flew her to the United Stated so she could have more tests done by doctors in Columbus, Ohio, who are cautiously optimistic emergency surgery could prolong her life.