Keenan Cahill, viral YouTube lip syncer, dies at 27 after surgery complications


The YouTuber struggled with the genetic disorder Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome. Photo: Keenan Cahill/Instagram

Keenan Cahill, an online content creator who became famous for his star-studded lip syncing videos, died Thursday (Dec 29). He was 27.

Cahill died at a Chicago hospital Thursday afternoon following complications from open heart surgery, his manager David Graham confirmed to USA Today Friday. Cahill went in for the surgery on Dec. 15 and was placed on life support following the procedure's complications.

The YouTuber, who struggled with the genetic disorder Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome, informed his fans of the surgery in social media posts earlier this month.

"One week till open heart surgery," Cahill wrote on Instagram Dec 5. "Wish me luck. Love y'all."

Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome is characterised by "complete or partial lack of activity of the enzyme arylsulfatase B," according to the National Organisation for Rare Disorders (NORD).

This disruption in enzyme activity can lead to symptoms such as "coarse facial features, corneal clouding, joint abnormalities, various skeletal malformations, an abnormally enlarged liver and/or spleen and hearing loss."

Heart abnormalities are common in children with the syndrome, per NORD.

Cahill began uploading videos to YouTube in his teens, sharing singing and lip sync covers of pop songs by the Jonas Brothers, Shakira and the All-American Rejects.

His YouTube channel began to take off when his videos caught the attention of celebrities, who joined him in his expressive lip syncing.

Cahill made videos with stars including 50 Cent, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. Cahill's video with 50 Cent, a cover of the rapper's Jeremih collaboration Down On Me, has racked up 60 million views to date.

Television personality and DJ Pauly D, who collaborated with Cahill on a cover of his song Beat Dat Beat, took to Twitter Friday to mourn Cahill's passing.

"Rip Keenan," Pauly wrote on Twitter alongside a photo of the two at an event. "Thank You for always making the world smile."

Cahill's last upload was an original song with Jillian Jensen titled Rain. – USA Today/Tribune News Service

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