updated 05/20/2013 AT 2:00 PM ET
•originally published 05/20/2013 AT 4:30 PM ET
Minnesota teen Zach Sobiech, who wrote the viral hit “Clouds” during his bone-cancer fight, died Monday morning. He was 18.
“With heavy hearts” the Children’s Cancer Research Fund announced the news on its website, writing, “Zach was at home and at peace with those he loved most. Zach’s life ended just as he lived, embraced by the love of his family, friends, grace and music.”
Sobiech, who celebrated his 18th birthday on May 3, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma when he was 14, and was told by doctors last June that he had possibly less than a year to live. That December, he released “Clouds.” The song about facing death got more than three million YouTube views. Just this month, Rainn Wilson led a group of celebrities lip-syncing in a moving tribute video.
The Children’s Cancer site message went on to read: “Cancer may have taken Zach too soon, but he leaves a lasting legacy that many of us will never achieve. His message of love and hope delivered through infectious lyrics and simple tunes have imprinted on the minds and hearts of millions around the world.” Read the full statement here.
“It is with heavy heart that we announce the passing of our son Zachary David Sobiech,” his family said in a statement obtained by the Today Show. “Our family has been blessed not only by his amazing presence in our lives, but also by the love and support of our family and friends and by so many people in the community. In particular we’d like to thank those people who listened with their hearts and helped Zach bring his message and his music to the world.”
The Sobiech family – parents Rob and Laura, and siblings Alli, Sam and Grace – requests that all memorials be directed to the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund to help carry on Zach’s mission to help kids with cancer.