Earlier this fall, Toronto teen Olivia Wise posted a video on YouTube of her singing Katy Perry's morale-boosting anthem "Roar." But this was not just one of the hundreds of thousands of such pop song covers that populate YouTube. Wise, still only 16, was battling brain cancer. She has now lost that battle.
Recorded in September and posted on Oct. 14, the video of Wise in a recording studio performing quickly went viral and has now passed 1.1 million views. "She couldn't walk or stand, she didn't have her full breath or the energy she used to, and she was managing her new pains and new limitations," the YouTube description said. "While her physical condition was rapidly fading, her spirit remained untouched."
As her rendition went around the world, it even attracting the attention of Perry herself, who recorded a response video to the young Canadian.
"Hey Olivia, it's Katy Perry here," she said. "I just wanted to reach back out to you and tell you that I saw your video and I was very moved and you sounded great. For being in the studio and making your wish to record that song, I thought that was really cool. I love you and a lot of people love you and that's why your video got to me and everybody that saw it. So I just wanted to send you some love and some light and tell you that I'm thinking about you. Thank you so much, keep roaring."
But it was not to be. On Monday afternoon, Wise died. Family member Jeff Kassel emailed the Toronto Sun to tell them say she had passed away, and that "she died peacefully in her home surrounded by the love of her family."
Upon hearing the news, Perry tweeted her condolences.
Olivia's version of "Roar" is also for sale on iTunes to raise money for the Liv Wise Fund, which is supporting children living with brain tumors by funding brain tumor research through the Paediatric Oncology Group of Ontario and Palliative Advanced Care Team at Sick Kids Hospital.
As of publication, the fund had raised over $108,000 of its $150,000 goal.