Keenan Cahill, a YouTuber who became famous in 2010 for lip-syncing to pop songs, died at 27, according to his manager.
Before a lot of TikTok users lip-synced to pop songs and tried to do complicated dance moves to them, there was Keenan Cahill, the master of lip-syncing.
Cahill got millions of views on his YouTube channel by mouthing the words to popular songs. All he needed was a desktop computer and a lot of passion. He even got well-known people to join him, like Katy Perry and 50 Cent.
Cahill, a charming musician with glasses whose videos made millions of people happy, passed away on Thursday in a Chicago hospital, his manager David Graham told CNN. He was 27.
The man from Chicago had Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome, which is a condition that causes organs to grow and has other symptoms. He was treated often and had several surgeries to fix it. According to his verified social media accounts, he was supposed to have open heart surgery earlier this month.
“There were problems that he couldn’t solve,” his family said in a GoFundMe page set up by his aunt and posted on his Facebook page. People started the fundraiser to help pay for Cahill’s medical and funeral costs.
Cahill was one of the first viral stars of the 2010s because of the lip-syncing videos he made from his bedroom desk when he was a teenager. The idea was simple: Cahill, who was always very expressive, would mouth the words to songs like “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love” by Usher and “Only Girl (In the World”) by Rihanna with aplomb and watch the views come in.
When Cahill lip-synced to Perry’s “Teenage Dream” in one of his most popular videos, Perry heard about it. She told the world on Twitter how much she liked his version, and then she asked him to join her on a tour stop in Pennsylvania in 2011.
Cahill got 50 Cent and Ariana Grande to lip sync in his YouTube videos, and Jennifer Aniston, producer David Guetta, and the contestants on “America’s Next Top Model” used his viral star power in their own videos. His manager said that Cahill was one of the first YouTubers whose personal channel had more than 500 million views.
— DJ Pauly D (@DJPaulyD) December 30, 2022
But Cahill didn’t want to be known just for lip-syncing, so he put out a single of his own in 2013 and later became a DJ and producer.
On GoFundMe, his family said, “He never made a lot of money, but he loved what he did and made so many people happy.”
His friends and fans remembered how happy and into the music he was. DJ Pauly D, known for his work on “Jersey Shore,” thanked him for “always making the world smile.” Perez Hilton, an internet gossip site popular in the 2000s, posted a video of the two dancing to “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5. And the popular Twitch user Ellohime, with whom Cahill often played the video game “RimWorld” on the site, paid tribute to Cahill as a “Viking forever,” from one viral star to another.
Graham, who worked for him, said that Cahill was a “legend.”
“Keenan inspired millions of people around the world by being himself, even though he was short, sick, and only 15 or 16 years old,” he wrote in an email to CNN, referring to the age when Cahill became famous.
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