8:10am

Fri December 30, 2011
The Two-Way

Family, Friends, Fans Bid Farewell To Ben Breedlove, Who Touched Many

In Austin yesterday more than 1,500 people gathered — as many more watched online — to say goodbye to a Texas teen who "reached millions across the world" with the videos he posted online in the months before his Christmas Day death, The American-Statesman reports.

Ben Breedlove, 18, had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy — "a thickening of the heart muscle that makes it work harder," as the newspaper says. His videos, which included Ben's description of a vision he said he had after a cardiac arrest last month, inspired many.

A friend of Breedlove's, 17-year-old Glynn Sullivan, tells the American-Statesman that "I don't have any memories of that kid without him having a smile on his face. ... As kids we think we're invincible, especially in high school, but Ben showed us we're not."

Austin's KXAN-TV has a video report on the service and Ben's life. It says that Ben's videos inspired "thousands of comments" from people they touched.

Among the young man's videos are two he posted just a week before his death, in which he uses flip cards to silently tell his story.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.