“Someday I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying.”

Country music is known for delivering many a gut punch to the feels, and this story is no different!

Grammy-award winning Country artist Tim McGraw is helping a Florida dad truly live one of his hit songs – Live Like You Were Dying.

In April 2022, Michael Hugo, 37, was diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of cancer that originates in the brain. He has been doing his best to stay hopeful, knowing this form of cancer has a very poor prognosis for survival.

One of his biggest worries? Not being able to celebrate with his two young daughters when their wedding days arrived.

A Dream Duet

Hugo decided to do something about it and broadcast a social media plea he hoped would reach one of his favourite artists: Tim McGraw. His ask? To record a duet of the country star’s hit song My Little Girl to play when his daughters Brooke, 7, and Bridget, 6, were eventually married.

Inspired by the movie, P.S. I Love You, Hugo figured that McGraw was someone who would understand his situation.

“One of my dreams is to be with my little girls for their wedding” Hugo said in his Instagram video shared in early February. “But statistically, it’s going to be tough. And I’m going to fight hard to get there, but one of my dreams or goals is to do a duet [of] ‘My Little Girl’ with Tim McGraw and do a little video that we could play during their wedding.”

“So, if I’m there, it’d be awesome because it’s a beautiful song.” He explained. “And if I’m not there, then at least I can be part of that wonderful day that I hope happens…”

Flying Down to Nashville to Make It Happen

Hugo’s social media appeal quickly went viral, and within a few short weeks, Michael, and his wife Vanessa, their two daughters and his mom, Lori were on a plane to Nashville to meet McGraw!

On McGraw’s Instagram, the singer shared a video with the Hugo’s, writing that they were “gonna make this happen!”

“Thanks to everyone who shared Mike Hugo’s video on social media and tagged me in the comments,” he captioned the post. “So glad we were able to actually get together in person, meet this amazing family, and make it happen! Mike is saving the videos for his daughters’ future weddings … what a special thing to be a part of.”

In a Facebook post, Vanessa Hugo described how the video had gotten to McGraw. It had been forwarded along to the head of the Tug McGraw Foundation, in honor of the country star’s father Tug McGraw, who died of the same form of cancer, glioblastoma, in 2004.

“Tim’s amazing management team arranged for a camera crew to film Michael dancing onstage at the Grand Ole Opry with our daughters, and also with his mom,” she wrote. “They then set up a special meeting for Michael and Tim to sing together. ‘My Little Girl’ for our girls, and ‘I Called Mama’ for Lori. The footage will be compiled into a video tribute for our family to keep.”

Vanessa thanked everyone involved in the incredible event, especially McGraw, gushing that he is “an amazing family man and #girldad, just like Michael.” McGraw, and his wife, superstar Faith Hill, are parents to three daughters – Gracie, 25, Maggie, 24, and Audrey, 21.

“You make the kind of music that touches people’s hearts and reminds them of what’s important,” Vanessa wrote.

Being Present for His Daughters Even if He’s Gone

In his viral video, Michael Hugo explained that the median survival rate for his form of brain cancer is 14 months. “And that was about ten months ago,” Hugo said in his video, posted on February 9th. To help slow the spread, he has been been using Optune, an FDA-approved medical device worn on the head.

“I’m going through chemo right now, but we live scan to scan. Every 30, 60 days, we know that something could pop up and could go downhill fast.” Said Hugo.

To ensure he can pass along as much advice as possible, Hugo said that he’s been imbibing as much guidance as he can to his daughters to “spread over the next few decades”, including writing them birthday cards up to their 21st birthdays.

“What can I do so that, number one, I’m not a ghost to them [and] they know how much their dad loves them,” Hugo told Good Morning America. “There’s no second guessing.”

As the quote goes, “A father holds his daughter’s hand for a short while, but he holds her heart forever.”