The prodigious singer-songwriter Zach Sobiech's trials with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, have ended. When his song "'Clouds" went viral last year, the teenager brought a wealth of hope and strength to his own situation and to countless others. On his Caring Bridge site today, his mother Laura Sobiech announced that he had passed surrounded by his sisters, brother, parents, and girlfriend. "We love him dearly," she writes. He was 18.
In February, Sobiech got to play "Clouds" and other songs from his A Firm Handshake project with collaborator Sammy Brown at the Varsity Theater. It was a special night filled with the emotion connected with his illness, but also the butterflies of a young musician getting to share his songs in a live setting.
As we noted in the review, Sobiech's frame was thin and his eyes were often dark, but he pushed past all of that to give a powerful performance, and leave an inspirational image with everyone in the room. He wore the determined face of someone who knew what was coming, and therefore knew that he had to hit his mark.
Earlier this year, City Pages' Andy Mannix spoke to Sobiech. And the conversation spoke volumes for the young musician's natural maturity with a battle that began back in November of 2009 and engulfed much of his teenage years.
"I think from being a normal kid to knowing that I had cancer, I did change," he said. "I think I was forced to grow up a little bit, because I don't know, a ninth grader -- You know, you think you're invisible. And you learn about this, and you realize that you're not. From cancer to the whole music career thing, I hope I haven't. I've tried not to just because I am who I am, so I hope a music career doesn't change that."
Sobiech got huge support from local station KS95 to get "Clouds" out to the world, and a BMI contract followed to help collect royalties from it. Out of this has come Sobiech's Honey Badgers cancer fund, which you can donate to here.
Earlier this month, Sobiech's story was told through a documentary released by actor Rainn Wilson's new media company, SoulPancake. In it, he gets to say farewell to his family, and a trove of celebrities -- including Jason Mraz, Sarah Silverman, the Lumineers, and a bunch more -- sing "Clouds."
This story is developing. We will post memorial information when it is available. It is Zach Sobiech's wish that all memorials be sent as a donation to his fund.