Richie Sambora Celebrated Early Father's Day with Daughter Ava: 'She's the Apple of His Eye' (Exclusive)

Richie Sambora's daughter Ava is currently pursuing her Ph.D in psychology, and announced her engagement in February

<p>Richie Sambora @therealsambora</p> Ava and Richie Sambora

Richie Sambora @therealsambora

Ava and Richie Sambora

Every day is Father’s Day for Richie Sambora.

The rocker, 64, is a proud dad when it comes to daughter Ava, 26 — so much so that the two carved out time to celebrate Father’s Day a week early by getting lunch together with Ava’s fiancé Tyler Farrar.

“Being a great father is a life sentence and one Richie considers one of life’s greatest gifts and accomplishments,” a source says. “‘She’s the apple of his eye. That’s what he lives for — his daughter and his fans and his family.”

Sambora and Ava celebrated early because the rocker had to head to the East Coast, where he attended the Songwriters Hall of Fame induction on Thursday, June 13 (He was inducted himself in 2009). The insider says that he spent Father's Day visiting his mother, who fell and broke her hip earlier this year.

Sambora — who left Bon Jovi in 2013 in order to focus on raising Ava, whom he shares with ex-wife Heather Locklear — “frequently” hosts his daughter and her fiancé, who announced their engagement in February, at his home in Calabasas, where he’s been hard at work on new music, the source adds.

Related: Richie Sambora Reveals He Would 'Without a Doubt Go Back' to Bon Jovi — on One Condition

<p>Richie Sambora @therealsambora</p> Richie and Ava Sambora

Richie Sambora @therealsambora

Richie and Ava Sambora

“Ava’s working full-time on her Ph.D in psychology. He’s so incredibly proud of her for following her dreams,” the source says. “He left the band for Ava, and the story just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter.”

The singer-songwriter is fresh off the release of a slew of new singles, including “I Pray,” “Livin’ Alone,” “Songs That Wrote My Life” and “Believe (In Miracles),” which he put out in April and May.

In a statement, Sambora said he was at a point in life where he was “truly happy and a big part of that joy comes from writing songs and making music.”

“Everybody is loving [the new music], which makes me so happy,” he added to PEOPLE at an event last month.

<p>Richie Sambora @therealsambora</p> Ava and Richie Sambora

Richie Sambora @therealsambora

Ava and Richie Sambora

Related: Richie Sambora Calls Bon Jovi Docuseries Jon's 'Perspective' as He Steps Out After Its Release (Exclusive)

The event came shortly after the release of Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story, a Hulu docuseries that chronicled the history of Bon Jovi, which Sambora joined as guitarist in the early 1980s. He went on to co-write some of the group’s biggest hits, including “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Wanted Dead or Alive,” before his 2013 departure.

“She needed me, and I needed her,” Sambora says in the docuseries of leaving the band for his daughter. “Truthfully. We didn’t have enough time. Things gang up on you, and I was dealing with that, as well as being a part of one of the biggest bands in the world. The band was stale at that point, and my job was to say that."

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.