They said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio had to win his home state if he wanted to keep his campaign alive.
But despite a strong (if last-minute) effort to get it together, Rubio lost to Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, and he lost big.
"When we started I was one of 17 people. I've had such great support," Trump said at a victory speech at the Mar-a-Lago Club in South Florida.
Rubio won nearly 27 percent to Trump's approximately 46 percent of Republican ballots in Florida, which means the latter takes all 99 delegates the state offers GOP candidates.
The loss was the coffin nail Trump supporters had hoped for, and shortly after the race was called, Rubio addressed supporters.
"I just want to know there's nothing more you could've done," he told supporters. You worked as hard as anyone worked and I want you to know we worked as hard as we ever could. America's in the middle of a real political storm, a real tsunami, and we should have seen this coming.Look, people are angry, and people are frustrated."
At that moment, a protester began shouting at Rubio.
"Don't worry, you won't get beat up at our event," he said, alluding to recent violence between supporters and detractors at Trump rallies.
The crowd immediately started shouting "Marco, Marco, Marco!"
He called for a conservative movement that doesn't "play on people's fears," one that focuses on free enterprise, national security and "Judeo-Christian" values.
Then, he announced his campaign was no more.
“While it is not God's plan that I be president in 2016, or maybe ever, while today my campaign is suspended, the fact that I've even come this far is evidence of how special America truly is, and all the reason more that we must do all we can to ensure that this nation remains a special place," he said.