After Getting Bullied and Defeating Cancer, This 11-Year-Old Won Simon Cowell's Golden Buzzer

The future is looking bright for Tyler Butler-Figueroa, an 11-year-old cancer survivor who earned Simon Cowell’s golden buzzer on Tuesday’s episode of America’s Got Talent. The North Carolina native was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 4 and started playing the violin when he was 7 as a way to cope with bullying in school. “I just didn’t want to be the kid with cancer, so now, I’m the kid who plays violin,” said Tyler, who has now been in remission for four years.

The pre-teen chose quite the fitting song for his audition — Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” — flawlessly playing his violin to the tune of the upbeat track and dancing around the stage in his light-up sneakers. Tyler’s awe-inspiring performance left all four judges completely stunned, especially Simon, who offered up some heartfelt words of wisdom for Tyler. “We hear too many stories about people being bullied, but I can tell you one thing: most people are bullied because they’re better than the people who bully them,” he said. “I would like to say something on your behalf to the bullies.” And that’s when he slammed the golden buzzer, sending Tyler straight through to the live show in Hollywood.

Watch Tyler’s stellar audition performance above, but grab a box of tissues first, because his story is sure to leave you an emotional wreck.

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