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Monday, October 5, 2015

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Teen who roared despite brain tumour passes away at 16

Olivia Wise [YouTube Screenshot]

TORONTO — The teenager who touched the hearts of more than one million people passed away Nov. 25 after two years of fighting an inoperable brain tumour.

Olivia Wise was 16 years old.

In early October, shortly after finding out there were no other options for treatment, the teenager recorded a cover of Katy Perry’s song Roar, and six weeks ago, it was posted to YouTube. More than one million people have since watched the video and many commented on her spirit, singing with such strength even in the face of a terminal illness.

The video’s popularity soared and even reached the pop star herself, who responded to Wise via video and later tweeted after Wise’s passing.

“Olivia Wise, I can hear you singing with the angels now. Your spirit and strength has inspired me and so many others… May you rest in peace,” she wrote.

Hundreds of high school and university students took part in an initiative organized by Hillel of Greater Toronto in which they paid tribute to Wise through a physical and video scrapbook with messages of hope for her.

The family has released the cover of Roar on iTunes and CD Baby, as well as an original song, Simple Girl, that Wise wrote when she was 11. She sang the songs in a Toronto studio with producer Jon Levine, who later added music be-hind Wise’s voice in Simple Girl.

Sales of both songs will go to the Liv Wise Fund, which her family set up through the Sick Kids Foundation, and which will donate money to support children with cancer, as well as brain cancer research.

The Liv Wise Fund has raised more than $158,000, and is still climbing toward a goal of $250,000.

Wise’s cousin, Jeff Kassel, told the The CJN that Wise died peacefully in her home surrounded by her family.

The Liv Wise Fund can be found at LivWiseFund.com.

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