LAKELAND, Minn. - Zach Sobiech amazed those around him with his unwavering love of life and music, pursuing both with as much energy as he could muster while fighting a battle with terminal cancer.
On Monday that fight came to an end.
Zach was just 18 when he passed away, his body too frail to continue. His mother Laura posted a simple message on his CaringBridge site. It reads:
"Zachary passed away this morning. He was surrounded by his sisters, brother, parents and girlfriend.
We love him dearly."
Zach Sobiech appeared on the nation's radar screen in November of 2012 when his song "Clouds" - which he posted on YouTube - exploded and went viral.
For any other singer-songwriter that might have launched a long musical career, but Sobiech knew from the outset that would not be in the cards. He had been fighting a form of rare and terminal cancer since 2009. Zach wrote "Clouds" as a message to those he loves about his terminal cancer.
"That was kind of just like a cry for help honestly," said Zach from the bedroom of his home in Lakeland. "I needed someone to drop a rope down to me."
Supportive notes arrived at the Sobiech home from all over the world, among them, autographed photos from Dolly Parton and John Elway.
The attention that followed his story led to a recording contract and feelers from Hollywood, but Zach stayed focused on family and friends, knowing days were numbered.
His mother noted on CaringBridge that Zach turned 18 on May 3, and was even able to muster the strength to attend prom the night after with his girlfriend Amy. Sadly, the resurgence was temporary.
It became clear last week through social media posts that his body was no longer able to fight, and Monday came news that was inevitable, but no less heart-wrenching.
A statement from University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital was released early Monday saying:
"Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Zach Sobiech.
Zach and his family inspired all of us as they confronted his diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
Zach gave so much of himself to others and we all were touched by his amazing musical talent.
We thank Zach for showing the world what kids can do and bringing awareness to a devastating
Brenda Weigel, MD, led Zach's treatment: "Zach's strength and courage are a real inspiration. The legacy he created through his music will live on, not only in the songs, but in the awareness
and support for research into osteosarcoma, a disease he wouldn't let bring him down."
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