11-Year-Old Violinist & Cancer Survivor Earns Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer

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Wearing a cool pair of light up shoes, 11-year-old North Carolina native Tyler Butler-Figueroa blew the “America’s Got Talent” judges away on Tuesday night with his rendition of Kelly Clarkson‘s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” and his incredible violin playing skills.

Simon Cowell chooses his Golden Buzzer pick on America’s Got TalentSimon Cowell chooses his Golden Buzzer pick on America’s Got Talent

The courageous and talented musician was diagnosed with Leukemia at 4½ years old. After losing his hair during chemotherapy, he was bullied by his classmates and decided to start playing the violin.

Tyler Butler-Figueroa blew the judges away with his incredible violin playingTyler Butler-Figueroa blew the judges away with his incredible violin playing

“I started playing the violin when I was 7½. I wanted to start playing the violin because I was being bullied in school. It’s because I had cancer, I almost died,” he told Simon Cowell, Gabrielle Union, Julianne Hough, and Howie Mandel.

Tyler Butler-Figueroa's light-up shoesTyler Butler-Figueroa’s light-up shoes

Simon Cowell, the 59-year-old longtime judge and executive producer of the show, pushed the golden buzzer. “I think you have such an amazing talent, such a personality. I would love to say something on your behalf to the bullies,” the father of one said before sending Tyler on to the live shows.

“You are an extraordinary young man. We hear too many stories of people being bullied, but I could tell you one thing: Most people are bullied because they’re better than the people who bully them,” Cowell told Tyler after his performance.

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