'Tonight, I do the show in his honour' - Vanessa Hudgens' dad dies just hours before her Grease: Live performance
Published 01/02/2016 | 08:27
The Grease: Live TV event on Sunday night was dedicated to the show's star Vanessa Hudgens' father, who died from cancer on Saturday.
The actress, who played bad girl Rizzo in the U.S. TV musical, confirmed the sad news on Twitter early Sunday, writing that her 65-year-old father Greg lost his battle with stage 4 cancer.
She wrote, "Thank you to everyone who kept him in your prayers. Tonight, I do the show in his honor."
And as the final credits rolled after the Grease: Live aired, one last title read, "In loving memory of Greg Hudgens. June 22, 1950 - January 30, 2016."
Viewers flooded to social media to praise Hudgens' strength as she took the stage, particularly following her emotional solo of the track There Are Worse Things I Could Do.
Actor/composer Lin-Manuel Miranda also applauded Hudgens for her decision to perform while grieving her father, tweeting, "Imagine you had Vanessa Hudgens' day, and doing that. What a superhero. In total awe."
The TV special, a revamp of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John's 1978 movie musical, Grease, kicked off with extra props of umbrellas as rain put a slight damper on the live show, but the skies cleared by the end, as the cast moved from a sound stage to an outdoor set for the famous final carnival scene.
Grease: Live also starred Julianne Hough, Aaron Tveit, Keke Palmer, Kether Donohue, Mario Lopez, Carlos PenaVega, and Carly Rae Jepsen.