Vanessa Hudgens has revealed that her father is battling stage four cancer. The 26-year-old star shared the sad news as she accepted an award for Breakthrough Performer at the 2015 Dance Awards on Wednesday.
"Last year, my boyfriend, Austin (Butler), lost his mum Lori to cancer, and my dad has just been recently diagnosed with stage four cancer," Vanessa said in an emotional speech at the event, which was held to raise money for a charity that supports dancers who are cancer survivors.
Vanessa Hudgens has revealed that her father has stage four cancer
"Let me tell you, I hate cancer. I hate cancer with every cell of my being."
She added: "If you would have asked me two years ago what I thought of cancer, I would have said 'Man, you know it sucks. It's a horrible disease,' but that's only because I hadn't been faced with it personally.
"This award, it means a lot to me. But I dedicate it to my boyfriend's mum Lori, my dad, and to all the families out there who are struggling with this because it really takes a strong person and a strong family to be able to help those out who are going through this."
It was the first time that Vanessa – who was being honoured for her Broadway debut in the musical Gigi – has publicly acknowledged her father's diagnosis, although last month she posted a photo of her dad on Instagram, and asked fans for their support.
Last month, Vanessa shared a photo of her dad and asked fans to pray for him
"My daddy and I. Please pray for his healing!! The more prayers the better," she captioned the picture.
Vanessa was accompanied to the 2015 Dance Awards by her boyfriend of four years, Austin. The actor, who recently celebrated his 24th birthday, has been busy recently, filming the MTV series The Shannara Chronicles, in which he stars as half-human/half-elf Wil Ohmsford. Austin also recently completed Yoga Hosers starring alongside Johnny Depp and Justin Long.
Vanessa meanwhile already has her next project lined up; she will play Rizzo in the TV musical Grease: Live, co-starring Julianna Hough and Nick Jonas.