Great Britain's poster boy secured a superb third-place finish in the 10 metres platform final with a score of 556.95 to win Team GB's first individual diving medal since 1960 and send the Aquatics Centre into raptures.
And Tom, who lost his father Robert last year, expressed his regret that the biggest influence in his life and career couldn't share the moment with him.
"This medal means so much to me, it's unbelievable," said the 18-year-old.
"It's been the toughest year of my life - losing my dad. It's such a shame he wasn't here to see that today because I know he would have been proud of me for what I've done.
"To go into the prelim yesterday and have a shaky start and then just get through to the semi-final and to come back the next day and not have lost confidence - I'm just literally so happy and I really wish my dad was here to see that.
"I've waited so long to compete in front of a home crowd and I wanted it to go the way I had planned. I went out there and gave it my best shot - I did absolutely everything.
"Having to do a re-dive because of the flash photography - that's one of the downsides to the home crowd but honestly I'm just so happy and I can't wait to go and see my family."
Heading into the final round of dives could not have been any closer with the 18-year-old Brit top on 466.20 with Bo and Boudia tied behind on 466.05.
It all rested on their final dives and significantly Daley's final dive had a difficulty of 3.3 compared to his rivals who both a 3.6 to come.
He said: "I was very nervous. I went in with the mentality of do or die - go in there and do my best and I put everything into it.
"I was in first place going into the last round and I didn't have the degree of difficulty in the last round to match these guys so I knew I had to do a good dive.
"My main aim here was to get a medal and to see my performance director happy. At the beginning of the year he was telling me I was fat, I've lost seven and half kilos and I've made so many changes.
"Everything now has made it worth it and I can eat what I like. Olympic bronze medallist, I can't believe it."