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Dwayne Johnson has publicly offered heartfelt words of support for Ashley Cain after The Challenge: War of the Worlds alum and British former soccer player revealed that his 8-month-old daughter Azaylia Diamond's cancer had spread and that doctors have predicted she has just days to live.
On Sunday, April 11, Ashley posted on his Instagram page a video message sent to him by The Rock, who he recently dubbed his hero. Dwayne, a father of three daughters, including a toddler, told the reality star that a friend of his DMed him about Ashley's story.
"I want you tell you, first of all, I'm sorry to hear about your beautiful daughter Azaylia," the Baywatch and Jumanji actor said. "I hope I pronounced her name right. You tell that little lion that I said, Let's go champ! Stay strong. And brother, I'm so sorry to hear this news but I don't have to tell you that your daughter's strength is what strengthens you and all her loved ones around her and in that, she's already had this incredible impact on the world already. Stay strong, brother. Again, man, my heart breaks for you. Stay strong and tell that little lion I said, let's go champ! You stay strong, brother. Talk soon."
Ashley, also known for starring on the reality show Ex on the Beach, captioned the video, "Let's Go Champ [fist emoji][red heart emoji] @therock...I'm so proud of my little girl and so humbled by the impact she's had on so many people around the world. From one of my hero's to another... Let's Go Champ! [fist emoji][red heart emoji] #AzayliaDiamondCain."
Last October, Ashley revealed that his and girlfriend Saffiya Vorajee's daughter Azaylia, then 2 months old, had been diagnosed with a "very rare and aggressive form" of leukemia, a blood cancer. Over the next few months, the infant went through treatments in the hospital.
But her cancer spread. On Thursday, April 8, Ashley revealed in an Instagram video that his daughter had "two very big tumors on her brain" and other masses in her stomach, her spleen, her lungs and her kidneys and that the therapies had failed. He said doctors "think she's only got one, two days to live," adding, "It could even be that night." On Friday, April 9, the family brought Azaylia home, where she remains fighting for her life.
"We're going to have fun, we're going to smile, we're going to be strong and we're going to go out with honor," he said in his video. "She's had a tough, tough life. From 8 weeks old, she's been in hospital, having chemotherapy, operations, transplants and I feel like, the last part of her life, I just want to take her home, treat her like a baby and give her the best rest of her life that we can give her."
He continued, "I think right about now, I've got to step up more than ever and be stronger than I've been the whole time because I'm doing it for her. She needs to see her daddy smiling. She needs to see her mommy smiling."
On Saturday, April 10, the family celebrated Azaylia's 8-month birthday.
"Yesterday Azaylia returned home from hospital like the fearless little lioness that she is," Ashley wrote on Instagram, alongside photos of the child strapped to a gurney. "Today is her 8th month birthday! Happy 8 months baby! I honestly thought @therock was my hero until I spent the last 8 months with you. You taught me how to be strong when I needed strength, you taught me how to smile when I am feeling sad, you taught me how to cherish every single moment - as these moments are all we have. You've been tenacious, fearless, courageous, positive, happy and loving through times which I thought would make it impossible!"
He added, "You've given me the best 8 months of my life through the toughest of times. MY HERO...I LOVE YOU [red heart emoji]."
Saffiya wrote on her own Instagram page, "This morning I sang happy birthday to you in bed, as we were blessed to wake up with you & celebrate 8months of magical moments together , we had a fun day and done so many casting of your cute hands and feet...You have changed me as a women in so many ways! You are my hero happy 8month birthday pretty girl, mummy loves you soooo much [three red heart emojis]."
She also shared on her Instagram Story videos of Azaylia playing in a pink Minnie Mouse-themed jumper, Ashley pushing her in it after it converted to a swing and a clip of her in her high chair, eating strawberries for breakfast on Sunday morning.
"We get to wake up to the most beautiful, most strongest, most amazing baby in the absolutely whole wide world," she told the baby. "Wow! Good morning."