Olivia Wise, Teen Who Covered Katy Perry, Loses Battle With Brain Cancer
16-year old succumbs to an inoperable brain tumor
Toronto teen Olivia Wise, whose inspirational cover of Katy Perry's "Roar" has garnered over a million YouTube views, died yesterday (Nov. 25) following a bout with an inoperable brian tumor. She was 16.
Wise died "peacefully in her home, surrounded by the extraordinary love of her family," according to a family statement. She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer in Jan. 2012, after she suffered a seizure.
Wise recoded a poignant cover of Perry's No. 1 hit in early September. The warm reception caused even the singer herself to take notice. In a response video, she said:
"I just wanted to reach back out to you and tell you I saw your video. I was very moved and you sounded great for being in the studio and making your wish to record that song… I love you. A lot of people love you and that's why the video got to me… Keep roaring."
Upon hearing of Wise's death, Perry sent this message on Twitter:
Olivia Wise, I can hear you singing with the angels now. Your spirit & strength has inspired me & so many others... May you rest in peace.— Katy Perry (@katyperry) November 26, 2013
The video was the idea of Wise's cousin, Jeff Kassel, who enlisted the help of friend Jon Levine, a Canadian producer-songwriter now based in Los Angeles. In it, the teen is seated in a wheel chair while singing in her light but resolute voice. A seriousness covers her until she gets to the line -- "Cause I am a champion, and you're gonna hear me roar" -- when she smiles through the pain.
Shortly before Wise's death, her family posted a second video from the studio session -- an original song called "Simple Girl" that she had written when she was 11.
Wise's song has helped raise $77,000 for the Liv Wise Fund, started in her name to benefit brain tumor research.