STILLWATER, Minn. -- On aday when there wasn't a cloud in the sky above Stillwater, hundreds gathered to celebrate the life of a young man whose music continues to soar in the charts.
On Thursday morning, family and friends poured into the Church of St. Michael for the funeral of Zach Sobiech. One hour before the service started, it was standing-room only.
"[We're here] to honor a kid who went down fighting and didn't really lose," said Father Michael Miller, as he quoted Zach's own words recorded during a film about his life.
On Monday, Zach died following a long battle with osteosarcoma. In the days following his death, his song"Clouds" has soared in the charts -- hitting the top spot on the U.S. iTunes chart. His album, "Fix Me Up," is also near the top of the charts.
Meantime, social media is aflutter with Zach news: people are taking pictures of "Zs" for a "ZforZachSobiech" Instagramcampaign; and Facebook continues to light up withlinks to his YouTube videos.Since it was posted Dec. 5, "Clouds" has received nearly 5 million hits on YouTube.
Allproceeds from"Clouds" go directly to the Zach Sobiech OsteosarcomaFund. About$280,000 has already been donated.Organizers hope to raise $1 million to have a "profound impact on osteosarcoma."
None of that is surprising to the friends and family who knew Zach long before the world got its chance.
"Everyone has changed because of him. Everyone is different. And different in a better way," Father Miller said.
Zach's best friend and bandmate, Sammy Brown, alsospoke at Zach's funeral.
"He never once complained," she said,adding, "He handledevery ounce of it with grace beyond his years."
Brown also recalled Zach's outlook on life: "Life is just beautiful moments, one after the other."
Thefuneral ended on a meaningfulnote:with the entire congregation singing "Clouds."