Teen With Cancer Finds YouTube Fame Before Death

Olivia Wise's Katy Perry cover gets Perry's attention
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2013 6:44 AM CST

A 16-year-old with terminal brain cancer died Monday—but not before her YouTube cover of Katy Perry's "Roar" moved countless viewers, including Perry herself. After learning that she had exhausted her treatment options, Olivia Wise recorded the song in a Toronto studio in September. The video, which shows Wise gaining strength as she sings, now has more than 1.6 million YouTube views. In a video response, Perry tells Wise: "I love you. A lot of people love you and that's why your video got to me. It moved everybody that saw it."

Wise "died peacefully in her home surrounded by the extraordinary love of her family," the family tells CNN in a statement. "In many ways, Olivia has lived a shortened, but full life ... Her diagnosis didn't change her personality. It only enhanced it." The statement adds: "Even in the most difficult moments, she managed to bring laughter and friendship to all that were caring for her." A few days ago, her family posted another song from the recording session, one that she wrote when she was 11. A fund in Wise's name has raised more than $132,000 for brain tumor research and kids living with such tumors. ("Roar" was recently the subject of another inspiring story.)

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