AUSTIN (KXAN) - The world mourned the loss Thursday of an Austin, Texas, teenager who touched millions through his YouTube videos.
"I know a lot of you are hurting because you miss Ben. But don't let your happiness go away because Ben is gone," said Ben Breedlove's sister, Ally Breedlove. She was the first to speak at the funeral service held four days after Ben died.
Through a live stream on the Internet thousands watched funeral services Thursday afternoon for 18-year old Ben Breedlove.
It happened Thursday afternoon inside the packed Gateway Church in northwest Austin.
Ben died on Christmas Day after a lifelong battle with the heart disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
During the last two years of his life, Ben posted videos on YouTube where he spoke about his faith and his life experiences. He even dispensed advice on dating.
In his final videos he silently held up cards that revealed his near-death experiences and being at peace with death.
In a dimly lit Austin church auditorium Thursday, more than 1,500 people gathered to celebrate the life of Ben Breedlove.
"The life Ben is now experiencing is not less of life -- it's more of life than we ever imagined," said Gateway Church Lead Pastor John Burke.
Although Breedlove loved life, he didn't fear death.
"To know he was ready to go and it's what he wanted is really special, and it's really comfortable knowing that he wasn't scared and it wasn't painful and it was something he really wanted," said Ben's friend, Cameron Thompson.
In person, Breedlove was as playful as any teenager, but his courage and faith shown in videos shot just before he died are what is attracting worldwide attention.
"We think it's incredible. We knew a lot of people loved Ben but we had no idea how many people he would reach," said Ally Breedlove.
Ben Breedlove asked on a card he held up in his final video, "Do you believe in Angels or God?" And next, "I do."
"It's not often that a lot of people get those kinds of messages before someone passes and that made it very easy for us," said his father, Shawn Breedlove.
Thousands of comments from people who have experienced miscarriages, illnesses and job losses have responded by writing:
"Ben, I believe in Angels because you are my Angel," "Ben, you have touched my soul," and "After watching this video it has put a smile on my face that I know for sure my baby is up there with god and beautiful people like Ben."
"It's very overwhelming for us and privilege for our family to be any part of that," said his mother, Deanne Breedlove.
Long after Breedlove's funeral service his story will live on for years to come and continue to inspire people around the world who just do a search for his name on the Internet.
"It's exciting to know that Ben planted a seed in people's minds to begin thinking about things that really do matter in life," said Deanne Breedlove.
And although there are tears and sadness, those who know Ben take comfort knowing his lifetime of medical struggles is over.
"That's why we can celebrate even in the midst of our loss because Ben is more alive today than he ever felt in this world," said Burke.
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