The last YouTube videos of Austin teen Ben Breedlove, who died of a heart attack on Christmas night at age eighteen, have received more than five million hits and inspired thousands of people to leave comments in support of the teen and his family.
Breedlove, who uploaded nineteen videos to YouTube, posted the final two clips, in which he tells his life story, on December 18. In the haunting pair of videos set to an instrumental version of “Mad World,” Breedlove wears a blue t-shirt and flips through a set of note cards that detail his life struggling with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and his three near-death experiences.
A week after those videos were posted, on Christmas night, Breedlove died of a heart attack. More than 1,500 people showed up to mourn the Westlake High School senior at Austin’s Gateway Church, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Many of those people had never met Ben and were simply inspired by his story, according to the Statesman‘s Jazmine Ulloa.
His parents took comfort in the outpouring of response to Ben’s videos: “It is exciting to know that Ben planted a seed in people’s mind that things really do matter in life,” said Deanne Breedlove, Ben’s mother, told KVUE. “We all have hope. Everyone has challenges, but we have a real hope, and he saw that. He felt the peace of God.”
Grant Hamill, Breedlove’s friend and classmate, told People that Ben’s heart had weakened over the last year. Hamill, who spent last summer wakeboarding with a healthier Breedlove, described his friend’s last moments:
On Christmas Day he really wanted to get out and be outside. He had just gotten a video camera [and] he went out and just started feeling out of breath and lightheaded so came inside, laid down and just passed out again and never came back from that last one.
At the end of the video, Breedlove describes his last near death experience, which occured in December. He fainted at school, and while he was out, Breedlove explains that he experienced a dream-like state, where he was in a white room with his favorite rapper, Kid Cudi. On his blog, Kid Cudi reacted to the news of Breedlove’s untimely passing.
I am so sad about Ben Breedlove. I watched the video he left for the world to see, and him seeing me in detail. I broke down, I am to tears because I hate how life is so unfair.
Watch the pair of videos here: