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The True Story Behind Disney+’s ‘Clouds:’ How Zach Sobiech Lived On Through Music

Clouds on Disney+, which began streaming on Friday, is the kind of movie that will have even the most stoic of viewers sobbing. Directed by Jane the Virgin star Justin BaldoniClouds tells the true story of Zach Sobiech, a teenager from Minnesota who was diagnosed with bone cancer when he was 14 years old. But even though his life was far too short, Sobiech made the most of it as a songwriter and musician. Through his music, he inspired not only his family and friends but the entire world.

Based on the memoir written by Sobiech’s mother, Fly a Little Higher: How God Answered a Mom’s Small Prayer in a Big Way, the movie stars Fin Argus as Zach during his senior year of high school. When Zach learns that his cancer has spread, he and his best friend Sammy (Sabrina Carpenter) decide to use what little time he has left to follow their musical dreams. Here’s what to know about Zach Sobiech and the Clouds true story.

Is Clouds on Disney Plus based on a true story?

Yes. Clouds is based on the true story of Zach Sobiech. Sobiech grew up in Lakeland, Minnesota, and was diagnosed with osteosarcoma—an aggressive tumor of the bone—when he was 14. He died of complications with cancer a little over a week after his 18th birthday, in 2013. But he left behind a legacy that has reached millions of people—a message of hope and inspiration, using the power of music.

During his senior of high school, after Sobiech was told by doctors that he had a year or less to live, Sobiech formed a band with his friends Samantha “Sammy” Brown and Reed Redmond, and called it A Firm Handshake. The band released a single, “Clouds,” which went viral, and currently has over 14 million views on YouTube. It’s a great song, and hard to listen to without crying. “Clouds” hit all kinds of charts, including the No. 3 slot on Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs in the U.S. and charts in the UK, Switzerland, France, Canada, and Belgium. All the proceeds from the sales went to The Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund at Children’s Cancer Research Fund, established by his family to help fund cancer research, treatment, and cures.

In February 2013, Sobiech’s band released their first and only EP, Fix Me Up, with seven tracks featuring vocals by Sobiech and his friend Sammy Brown. A 20-minute documentary about Sobiech—produced and directed by Baldoni, who also directed Clouds—was released on Rainn Wilson’s YouTube page just a few weeks before Sobiech’s death.

Since Sobiech’s passing, many artists have paid tribute to the young musician, including Bryan Cranston, Ashley Tisdale, Jason Mraz, Sara Bareilles, Colbie Caillat, Phillip Phillips, Passenger, The Lumineers, and more. It’s safe to say that Sobiech has touched the lives of countless people, and now, with the release of Clouds on Disney+, he will continue to do so for many years to come.



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