The terminally-ill father of an Alabama bride who touched the world with a video of their father-daughter wedding dance last year passed away on Thursday, just 12 days after the woman’s big day.
Mary Bourne Roberts confirmed to the wedding photography company that helped their special routine go viral, that her dad died this week, after more than half a million viewers were given the opportunity to watch them move to a tune picked out since she was a child.
Labeling the tearful moment, the ‘sweetest father-daughter dancer ever’,
A touching video of Alabama bride Mary Bourne Roberts and her father Jim, who had terminal cancer and was in a wheelchair, dancing at her wedding went viral on social media
Mary and her dad Jim used to dance around the kitchen to Lee Ann Womack’s 2000 hit ‘I Hope You Dance’ when she was younger and the moment they got to dance at her wedding made viewers around the globe reach for a box of tissues.
When they finally made it happen during her December 29 St. Francis at the Point Church wedding in Point Clear, Alabama, it didn’t look like she’d imagined.
Jim was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive and incurable form of brain cancer that typically kills in a matter of months, in May 2017. He entered hospice care mid-December.
Jim Roberts passed away Thursday around noon, Blue Room Photography posted on Facebook
The wedding photography company wrote: ‘We will miss him so much. And now, the world will miss him!’
The bleak prognosis left his daughter unsure if he would even be able to attend her wedding to fiance James Butts. So when the father-daughter duo got the opportunity, they made it count.
Heartwarming hand-held video from Mary Bourne’s wedding reception shows her and her dad, who is in a wheelchair, holding hands as they twirl around the dance floor singing along to their song.
The three-and-a-half minute clip ends with almost everyone in the audience wiping away tears of joy, including the father-of-the-bride, after the professional dance teacher’s performance.
Mary majored in dance at the University of Alabama and now works at the Eastern Shore Dance Academy in Daphne.
Mary Bourne had the song for her father-daughter dance picked out since she was a child, when she and her dad used to dance around ‘I Hope You Dance’ by Lee Ann Womack
After Jim was diagnosed with glioblastoma in May 2017, his daughter was left unsure of whether they’d actually ever have a father-daughter dance. When her wedding rolled around on December 29, they made the most of the opportunity
The late Jim can be seen giving Mary Bourne a kiss in the undated childhood photograph above
Mary Bourne told
Her mother Tracy said: ‘Our family has been through so much since Jim’s diagnosis. It was awesome to be able to celebrate Mary Bourne [together]… the dance was a dream come true for both of them.’
She said the family was shocked by how much attention the video had gotten.
‘It’s been great to see people touched by the love they share – we’re used to seeing it all the time!’ Tracy said.
The father-daughter dance routine brought everyone in the room to tears, including Jim himself but his wife said he would’ve cried even if he was standing
Mary Bourne’s mother Terry said: ‘The dance was a dream come true for both of them.’ The family is seen in a photo believed to have been taken before Jim’s diagnosis
The bride is pictured with her now-husband James Butts in the Facebook photo above
Jim could be seen crying through clip at his daughter’s reception but it was nothing to do with his condition according to his widow.
Tracy added to
‘He was overwhelmed with pride and the love he feels for her. It was a great day for him, a beautiful, perfect day for all of us.’