AUSTIN (KXAN) - As of Wednesday afternoon, the final YouTube video Ben Breedlove posted before he died on Christmas Day has reached nearly 1 million views.
When KXAN spoke to his family Tuesday, they shared what everyday life was like for the Austin teenager who was born with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy , or HCM.
Most people could not tell he had the heart muscle disease that makes it difficult to pump blood. Even when it showed, he wasn't fazed.
"He was crossing the street at school one time and he just dropped in the middle of the street from his heart condition," said his father, Shawn Breedlove. "His friends helped him up and he just kept going. They laughed about it. He didn't take it overly serious. He went with it."
Ben parents said doctors did not expect Ben to live past his early teens.
The 18-year-old had a pacemaker put in two years ago, which gave him more energy, helped regulate his heart and stretch his limits.
He was able to spend more time on the lake, learn how to do a flip on the wakeboard and travel to Alaska with his grandparents. That is when he also started making YouTube videos .
But there were signs his heart condition was getting worse.
"Ben really wanted to be free from not being able to do some things and recently he was getting more tired and less able to do the things he would like to do," said his mother, Deanne Breedlove.
About a week before his death -- around the time the Westlake High School senior made his last video -- his family knew he was ready to die.
"He had talked to us in person about being comforted by God and having experienced the peace of God and not being afraid of his heart condition or ultimately passing away," said Deanne.
"Last week he prayed for us that we wouldn't be scared or sad and we would have the same peace he felt," said his sister, Ally Breedlove. "And now we're just remembering the joy he gave to the world."
( Ed. note: KXAN.com will live stream Ben's funeral on Thursday at 3 p.m. CST, at the request of his father, Shawn Breedlove.)
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