YouTube sensation dies of cancer
By AJ Willingham
(CNN) – A 13-year-old makeup guru, YouTube fixture and Internet inspiration for thousands has passed away.
Talia Joy Castellano, known to her followers as Talia Joy, rose to Internet fame through her detailed makeup “vlogs,” or video logs, in which she shared product reviews, techniques and cosmetics tutorials. She often said that makeup was a way for her to feel beautiful and express herself despite the physical pains of cancer treatment.
Besides sharing her skills, Talia also shared her struggles: The teenager battled cancer for six years, and this past March, she informed her fans that the cancer had spread to her right hip and skull, and in all likelihood, she would lose her fight with the disease.
In the past few months, Talia’s social accounts were taken over by her friends and family as her health and energy waned. On Tuesday, the Angels for Talia Facebook page posted a heartbreaking update:
“It is with a heavy heart that we share with all of you that Talia has earned her wings at 11:22 a.m. Please lift her beautiful soul, her beautiful light to heaven and please send your love and prayers to her family during this most difficult time. God speed little one, may you be free from pain and suffering, may your soul feel the light and love that you brought to so many of us on this Earth during the short time you were here with us. We will miss you more than you will ever know baby girl.”
Almost immediately, condolences and messages of support and appreciation began pouring onto her Facebook page and YouTube channel. “Talia, you were so strong,” reads one recent YouTube comment. “You will never, ever, ever be forgotten. I love you so much. You are the most inspiring person ever.”
Talia’s influence became so wide, she was invited to be on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” in September. When asked how she stayed positive throughout her ordeal, Talia said to host Degeneres, “A little fishy once told me, just keep swimming.”
Degeneres and Cover Girl then surprised Talia with an “honorary cover girl” title, a makeup table and $20,000. “That’s because you’re so beautiful, Talia,” Degeneres said. “You’re a beautiful, beautiful person.”
When her condition took a turn for the worst, Talia was not shy to admit that no amount of makeup or cheer could hide the reality she knew all too well.
“When I talk to people about the way I feel about death or my cancer, some people are just like — you could, like … the way I talk is very explicit because I face reality,” she said in one of her last cancer vlogs.
“It’s not like I’m happy or something, it’s that I face reality … I’m very truthful. But I believe that I can fight it, and I believe that I can beat the crap out of cancer.”
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