May 20, 2013 at 1:41 PM ET
Zach Sobiech, the Minnesota teenager who wrote the viral hit song "Clouds" during his fight with bone cancer, died at 18 years old on Monday morning.
Sobiech died at his home surrounded by his family and girlfriend, according to a post by his mother on Sobiech’s CaringBridge page. Sobiech was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, when he was 14, and was told by his doctors in June 2012 that he had months or possibly a year to live.
In December of 2012, he released “Clouds,’’ his moving song about facing death, which has received nearly three million views on YouTube. Earlier this month, a group of celebrities including Bryan Cranston, Anna Faris, Sarah Silverman, Ed Helms, Jenna Elfman, and Jason Mraz took part in a tribute video for Sobiech in which they lip-synched to "Clouds."
“It is with heavy heart that we announce the passing of our son Zachary David Sobiech,’’ the family said in a statement. “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. 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 also worked closely with the Children’s Cancer Research Fund, who he partnered with for his own Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund.
“With heavy hearts, we are saddened to share that Zach Sobiech passed away this morning,’’ the Children’s Cancer Research Fund said in a statement. “Zach was at home and at peace with those he loved most. Zach’s life ended just as he lived, embraced by the love of his family, friends, grace and music.
“What cancer has taken from Zach, he and his family have given back twofold with their message of hope and love amidst tragedy. It was Zach’s dream to make music and help others during his last months on earth, raising awareness and funding for osteosarcoma research to help save the young lives of those diagnosed in the future.
“We extend our sincerest condolences to the Sobiech family – parents Rob and Laura, siblings Alli (Collin), Sam and Grace, along with Zach’s many friends, teachers, classmates and others who have suffered a tremendous loss.”
Sobiech was able to celebrate his 18th birthday on May 3 and attend his senior prom at Stillwater Area High School in the weeks before his death.
"It's really simple, actually,’’ Sobiech said recently in a documentary produced about him by Soul Pancake, a media company founded by actor Rainn Wilson. “It's just, try and make people happy. Maybe you have to learn it over time, maybe you have to learn it the hard way, but as long as you learn it, you're going to make the world a better place.
"I want everyone to know you don't have to find out you're dying to start living."