The Rock Instagram LEAD
Credit: therock/Instagram

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has a lot of massive muscles, but his biggest one might just be his heart. Back in March, Johnson heard about little Gabriel “Tater” Singleton’s wish to visit him on the Baywatch set, and happily invited the sick 7-year-old to meet him. “Big man you’re way stronger than I’ll ever be and you better get ready, because I hug like a bear!” he wrote.

Today, Johnson returned to Instagram with some sad news for his fans: Tater passed away a few days ago after a battle with cancer. “Many of you know the story of strong lil’ Tater [whose] wish it was to meet me. Been sitting on this post for a few days now, ‘cause I wasn’t sure how to express it... but here goes,” he wrote alongside a sweet photo of them together (above).

“I don’t know why this lil’ 7 yr old boy was chosen to battle cancer. Fighting it hard core daily. Was it so his fight could inspire everyone around him? Was it ensure we would wake up every day with a greater gratitude for life and hug our loved ones that much stronger? I believe everything happens for a reason—but sometimes it requires us to have faith to look deeper to know what they are.”

“Our strength and love go out to Tater’s mom, dad and sisters who I had the privilege of spending time with on our set of Baywatch. As a dad, I’d do anything to put a smile on my girl’s faces and Tater’s mom and dad did everything they could to make this little boy smile. He sure did and it was beautiful. And we all smiled with him.”

The emotional star added a hashtag to remind us all to live life to the fullest: “#LiveLikeTater.” Read his full, moving post on Instagram.