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YouTube music star Zach Sobiech dies at 18 after creating inspirational hit 'Clouds' (video)

High schooler Zach Sobiech, who became a YouTube sensation with the song
High schooler Zach Sobiech, who became a YouTube sensation with the song "Clouds" before succumbing to cancer.
Zach Sobiech

Zach Sobiech, a young man diagnosed with bone cancer who became an Internet sensation thanks to a song he wrote called “Clouds,” died this week. He was 18.

“Clouds” has almost 5 million hits on YouTube and has drawn many covers, including a celebrity lipdub tribute video featuring Bryan Cranston, Jason Mraz, Sarah Silverman, Ed Helms, Sara Bareilles, the Lumineers, Jason Derulo and many more — it has almost 2 million views on its own. It was used to help raise money for the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund. Proceeds from the song itself also benefit the fund.

Mraz thanks Sobiech at the end of the video for writing what he considers a great song. The song has a melancholy yet optimistic feel, reminiscent of some of Mraz's own work.

“Clouds” hit number 1 on the iTunes top 10 this past Wednesday. Sobiech’s fund has raised over $266,000 so far, with the fund looking to fund new drugs and to map the genetic factors signaling osteosarcoma growth.

Sobiech was diagnosed in November 2009 when he was just 14 years old. He got a hip replacement, chemo and other treatments, even managing to get cancer free, but it returned a year ago — having spread to his pelvis and lungs, leading to a terminal diagnosis. Sobiech died Monday.

Rainn Wilson of "The Office" fame runs a site that talks about big ideas, particularly spirituality, and along with putting together that celebrity video, the site also produced this look into the end of Sobiech's life: 

In the video, Sobiech says, "I've been told I have a few months to live, but I still have a lot of work to do. I want everyone to know you don't have to find out you're dying to start living."