When St Hilda's Secondary School student Neo En Cheng collected his N-level results last Thursday, he found he had done well enough to make it to Secondary 5.
He went home tell his cancer-stricken mother the good news, but she was too ill to respond.
She died last Saturday, two days after he collected his results. She was 43.
En Cheng's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2011.
Tumours were later found near her bladder and in her intestines.
Her condition became critical after he took his N-level examinations, he told The New Paper.
"We told her to stay strong, to stay with the family. She said that yes, she'd get healthy."
At the start of this year, his cousin recommended tui na (massage) to Mrs Neo.
The family went to a Buddhist temple to learn how to administer the massage.