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After Going Viral with Uplifting Song, Minnesota Teen Dies of Rare Cancer

Update Date: May 20, 2013 01:49 PM EDT
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Eighteen-year-old Zach Sobiech passed away today after a battle with osteosarcoma. The teenager received viral fame after penning and singing the song "Clouds", which netted him a songwriting contract, the chance to sing in a studio and a tribute video in which celebrities lip-synched his song in celebration of him.

According to the Star Tribune, Zach was diagnosed with his condition at the age of 13. A common form of cancer diagnosed in children and teenagers, Zach discovered the disease when he was practically immobilized by a pain in his left hip. As a result, he underwent 10 surgeries and nearly two dozen rounds of chemotherapy. Last summer, his doctors informed the teenager that he had just months to live and that any treatment would simply be a means to slow down the progression of the disease, not to treat it.

The cancer diagnosis caused Zach to start writing music, according to CNN. His first song was called "Clouds", an ode to the people who stuck by him during his battle with cancer. First recorded on a cell phone, the song attracted enough attention that Zach was able to record it in a studio. The accompanying video has gone viral, garnering 2.9 million views on YouTube since December.

Proceeds from his music have all gone toward the funding of research on osteosarcoma. His CD has raised $100,000 in funds, and digital download sales are expected top $10,000.

Zach's music was not the only way that he touched people. As he explained in a documentary on his life, "You know most people live kind of in the middle, in between 'all your dreams come true' and 'you're dying,' and it's a very comfortable place to live. I'm living on the two extreme ends, so you have really, really good days and you have really, really bad days." His family says that he caused them to live life to the fullest for the majority of the previous four years.

According to CBS Minnesota, his family would like memorial offerings to be directed to the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund instead of flowers.

The video of "Clouds" can be found below.

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