It’s hard to miss the name Zach Sobiech if you’ve been on social media the past weeks. He has become a local hero, his influence even expanding to an international level. The tragic aspect to Zach’s journey is that he passed away on Monday after a long battle with cancer; the inspirational part of the story comes from the way Zach lived his life and the way he touched the lives of all who heard of his struggles.
“Writing goodbye letters aren’t Zach’s style,” his mother Laura has said, “so he puts his heart into song lyrics.”
He wanted to be able to create lasting messages his loved ones could revisit once he was gone. But one of Zach’s songs, a track titled “Clouds” has become a sensation, both on YouTube and iTunes. On YouTube, Zach’s music video for “Clouds” is up to almost five million views.
On iTunes, this track has propelled to number one on their list, even ahead of current cultural icons like Macklemore and Pink. Yes, a local kid from Stillwater who wrote a song about his struggles with cancer is the number one purchased song on iTunes in the US. But the song has even jumped to number 24 in the UK as of yesterday; the song wasn’t even on the UK iTunes top 100 songs the day before.
Part of Zach’s posthumous stardom comes from random people learning about him and wanting to spread his story every way they can; but a lot of his influence is being spread by his close friends and those who knew him.
“The effort has mostly spread via Facebook and Twitter,” a former Stillwater High School classmate of Sobiech, Courtney Sitz, said. “It seems like the whole community has started posting about it.”
Those touched by this remarkable young man are looking to proclaim to others the life he lived; the easiest way to do so now is through his music.
If you want to know more about Zach’s triumphs and struggles, check out this great documentary about the last days of his life. It’s truly a moving piece.