Tributes pour in for teen whose inspiring cancer battle went viral

Zach Sobiech, as seen in the documentary 'My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech'.
Zach Sobiech, as seen in the documentary 'My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech'. Courtesy of YouTube

CALGARY- A young man whose battle with terminal cancer inspired both a documentary and viral video has passed away.

Zach Sobiech was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer when he was just 14, called osteosarcoma. Last May, just five days after finishing chemotherapy, a CT scan found tumours in both lungs. He was given six months to a year to live.

“We did have an option of surgery, but that would mean they’d have to take his left leg and half of his pelvis, and he wouldn’t be able to sit up,” recalls his mother, Laura. “We got to the point where we have to make decisions of quality of life.”

Zach decided to spend his remaining days out of the hospital, spending time with friends and his family in Minnesota. He began writing songs, in hopes of leaving something everyone could remember him by. One of those songs was called ‘Clouds.’

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Since being posted on YouTube in December, it has had more than 3.5 million views and inspired another viral version—this one done by celebrities including Chris Pratt, Anna Faris, Rainn Wilson, Rachel Bilson, Jenna Fischer and Ed Helms.

The stars were invited to take part by Justin Baldoni, who directed a 22-minute documentary about Zach called ‘My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech.’

The film highlights Zach’s sunny spirit, and how he lived to make people smile.

“Zach has always been incredibly empathetic and compassionate,” his mother remembers. “He’s always looked for the good in people, and I think he’s taught all of us, that’s how it’s done.”

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The documentary highlights the special last moments Zach spent with his three siblings and parents, as well as his dedicated girlfriend Amy, who he hoped to marry.

“Mom and dad, the best parents anyone could ever ask for, I only wish I could have kids and raise them like you raised me, because you did one hell of a job,” Zach says, in an emotional tribute at the end. “I love both of you so much.”

Zach lost his battle with cancer on Monday.

News of his death sparked an outpouring of tributes on social media. Click here to donate to the Children’s Cancer Research Fund in Zach’s memory.

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