Ben Breedlove was just 18-years-old when he died on Christmas Day 2011. He had struggled with a life-long heart condition that had affected his entire life. In the final weeks of his life he made videos in which he shared his experiences living life with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart condition that causes the heart muscle to thicken, making it hard for it to pump blood.
The last videos he uploaded, just a week before his death from a heart attack on Christmas Day, he smiles warmly into the camera and silently holds up a series of hand-written cards that tell his story of ‘cheating death’ when he was 4-years-old and twice in the past year. The visual of him sitting there, showing his cards is set to an instrumental version of Gary Jules’ ‘Mad World’.
The Austin, Texas teenager describes his life with heart disease.
I was never allowed to play all the sports that my friends did,” the cards say in the two videos (above and below). “It kinda sucks that I missed out on that part of my life. I really just hoped that I could be the same as everyone else.
And he describes his near-death experiences. He says he doesn’t remember much of the near-death experience when he was 4, but that he saw a light that his mother couldn’t see. One of the experiences in the summer of 2011 was scary. Another that he had on December 6, 2011 he describes in detail. He describes being in a white room with his favorite rapper Kid Cudi. He wrote that he was still trying to figure out why he and Kid Cudi were the only ones there!
He wrote that he looked at himself in the mirror and, ‘I was proud of MYSELF, of my entire life, everything I have done’.
He also wrote that he didn’t want to leave that place. He ends his message with the profound question asking whether or not you believe in angels and God. He this holds up a card that states simply, ‘I do.’
Just a week later he was dead of the disease that had plagued him his entire life.
His family discovered the videos after his death and needless to say, his mother reported that they brought an immense amount of comfort to the grieving family. It seems he had (or has) good reason to look at himself in the mirror and to be pleased with the way he lived his life.
Rest in peace Ben Breedlove.
Here is Ben Breedlove’s YouTube video channel. You can watch the last two Ben Breedlove videos below, but have a tissue handy.