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Is Disney+ film Clouds based on a true story?

Everything you need to know about the true story of Clouds singer Zach Sobiech.


A new film is arriving on Disney+ this week that tells the story of a teenager who writes a hit song after being diagnosed with a rare bone cancer.


The film is based on the life of teenager Zach Sobiech, who sadly passed away in 2013,  with the memoir Fly a Little Higher: How God Answered a Mom’s Small Prayer in a Big Way – written by Zach’s mother – providing the basis for the story.

You can watch Clouds by signing up to Disney Plus for £5.99 a month or £59.99 a year – read on for everything you need to know about the true story that inspired it.

Clouds on Disney+ true story

Zach Sobiech hailed from Lakeland, Minnesota and was born in 1995.

When he was just 14-years-old, he was tragically diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer which required him to undergo extensive surgery and chemotherapy.

It was after his diagnosis that Zach started songwriting, and one of his songs, Clouds, became especially prominent.

The song addressed his battle with the illness, and went viral – leading to extensive media coverage and gaining more than 3 million views on YouTube before Zach’s tragic death (the video now has 14 million views).

Clouds became a hit in various countries, including the UK, Canada and France, charted on the billboard 100 in the US and even hit #1 on iTunes.

In fact the song became so well-known that a celebrity tribute version was recorded, with stars including Ashley Tisdale, Colbie Caillat, Anna Faris, Jason Mraz, Sara Bareilles, Jenna Fischer, The Lumineers, Rachel Bilson, Ed Helms and Phillip Phillips all contributing.

Zach also went on to release a follow up song, titled Fix Me Up, which he recorded as part of a band called A Firm Handshake with his friends Samantha “Sammy” Brown and Reed Redmond.

That song would go on to become the title track of an EP, which included five other songs recorded with Brown and Redmond in addition to Clouds.

Sadly, Zach passed away in May 2013, at his home in Lakeland – with tributes flooding in from around the world following the news.

Following his death, his mother Laura wrote Fly a Little Higher: How God Answered a Mom’s Small Prayer in a Big Way about Zach’s life – from which the new film is directly adapted.


Clouds is streaming now – sign up for to Disney Plus for £59.99 a year (or £5.99 a month). Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide.