Katy Perry Surprises Orlando Shooting Survivor in Emotionally Charged Visit on 'Ellen'
Perry also offered to pay for Tony Marrero's first year of film school, and DeGeneres gave him some gifts.
Appearing on Thursday's Ellen DeGeneres Show, Orlando shooting survivor Tony Marrero shared his powerful story of overcoming the four gunshot wounds he suffered in June's deadly attack at the Pulse nightclub.
As he discussed his recovery, he revealed how he listened to Katy Perry's song "Rise" over and over again. "The lyrics to that song are so powerful, every word in that song is powerful, so I embraced it," said Marrero.
"Do you want to meet Katy?" asked DeGeneres, introducing her surprise guest: "Katy!"
Perry then walked out as Marrero's eyes immediately filled with tears. The duo cried and hugged each other tightly.
"We're both electrified by each other. It's so inspired," said Perry. She said she had folded a napkin in her hand and stuffed it up her sleeve in preparation for the emotional moment. "Your story is so inspirational," she told Marrero.
"I just want to say thank you for everything you do," he replied. "Your lyrics to that song helped me from the day that I was in the hospital all the way to now."
But that wasn't all. "I heard that you're a creative just like me, and you have dreams, and you want to go out there and do good and fulfill them," said Perry. "I heard that you want to go to film school, so I personally want to pay for your first year at film school."
There were plenty of tears earlier in the program as well, when Marrero shared his story of the night he was shot, when he lost his friend Luis, who had invited him to the club. Luis and Marrero worked together at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Marrero said he dropped to the ground when the gunman came in and covered his head with a couch. He was shot in the back four times and died on his way to the hospital before being revived.
"You were shot four times, and it missed every single major organ. It's a miracle," said DeGeneres, who has revealed she sobbed for 15 hours after first hearing the news about the Pulse mass shooting. "You're amazing, and I'm so sorry for what you went through."
Marrero first caught DeGeneres' attention when he posted a photo of himself in a hospital bed holding a sign that read "Still swimming, Ellen."
"I know you are still healing and recovering obviously emotionally, all kind of ways, but you haven't had a chance to see Finding Dory yet," said DeGeneres. She told him she set up a private screening for him and his friends to see the movie in Orlando. She added that Shutterfly is donating $25,000 to the GoFundMe for Pulse victims.