Olivia Wise, the 16-year-old whose version of Katy Perry’s hit song “Roar” became an instant YouTube hit, died last week of brain cancer, her family member told the “Today” show.
Wise’s cousin Jeff Kassel, who arranged for the Perry fan to perform the song in a recording studio, said that she died on Nov. 25 in her home.
“She’s one of those special people who are so warm and easy and lovely,” Kassel said. “When she was diagnosed with a really aggressive tumor that was not only inoperable, but also invasive, there was very little hope right away. I’m sure she had her ups and downs, but you wouldn’t know it if you saw her. Her attitude was so unbelievable. I think it made it easier for everyone else to keep positive.”
Wise’s video and story garnered so much attention that Perry responded to her young fan with a viral video of her own.
“I saw your video, and I was very moved, and you sound great,” Perry told Wise in the video. “I love you.”
News of Wise’s death reached the pop star early on, and the singer tweeted about her fan on Nov. 26.
“Olivia Wise, I can hear you singing with the angels now. Your spirit & strength has inspired me & so many others... May you rest in peace.”
Wise’s recording, posted Oct. 12, received more than 2 million views on YouTube, and commenters turned to video sharing site to react to news of her death as word spread this week.
“RIP baby girl. You did your piece on this earth and I know that you're at peace in heaven now. Your voice has touched me in more ways than one and I'm so glad that through everything you were able to summon the strength to sing this beautiful song. God bless you and your family forever and always,” one commenter wrote.
Another added, “Olivia, I hear you roar and I'm so sorry that your time with us was cut so short. I never knew you but I have tears in my eyes for you. Thank you for sharing your beauty with all of us...”