A Minnesota teen who penned the heartbreaking song “Clouds” after learning he had terminal bone cancer, reaching millions around the globe after his performance went viral on YouTube, has died.
“Maybe someday I’ll see you again,” Zach Sobiech sang in a performance initially recorded on his cellphone, then recorded in a studio with professional musicians. “We’ll fly up in the clouds and we’ll never see the end.”
A CD and digital downloads of the song, released in December, has raised more than $100,000, with proceeds going to fund research into osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer which typically occurs in teens and adolescents. More than 3 million people have viewed his performance on YouTube.
The death of Sobiech, who wrote the song as a farewell to family and friends after learning he had just months to live, was announced on his CaringBridge Web page.
“He was surrounded by his sisters, brother, parents and girlfriend,” the Monday announcement read. “We love him dearly.”
Sobiech, who turned 18 on May 3, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2009. Despite multiple surgeries and months of chemotherapy, the cancer spread out of control.
“Our family has been blessed not only by his amazing presence in our lives, but also by the love and support of our family and friends and by so many people in the community,” his family said in a statement. “In particular, we’d like to thank those people who listened with their hearts and helped Zach bring his message and his music to the world.”
Sobiech and his band, A Firm Handshake, released an album titled “Fix Me Up,” in February.
“Cancer may have taken Zach too soon, but he leaves a lasting legacy that most of us will never achieve," the Children's Cancer Research Fund said in a statement. "His message of love and hope delivered through infectious lyrics and memorable tunes have imprinted on the minds and hearts of millions around the world.”
The Sobiech family has asked that all memorials be directed to the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund in lieu of flowers.