Sunday, May 8, 2011

Blogger announces own death after battle with cancer

A Canadian man who blogged about his battle with cancer has died, but not without leaving a post-mortem message.

"Here it is. I'm dead," read the last internet post of Derek Miller, who died last week after more than four years of blogging about his struggle with colorectal cancer.

"In advance, I asked that once my body finally shut down from the punishments of my cancer, then my family and friends publish this prepared message I wrote -- the first part of the process of turning this from an active website to an archive," he wrote on his blog,

A day after his death, a longtime friend, Alistair Calder, published the final message.

"I felt as though I was putting Derek's ... last moments on the web," Calder said. "It was really, really, really hard."

Meanwhile, news of Miller's death -- and his final post online -- went viral.

The site "got 3 million visitors and it shutdown," said Miller's wife, Airdrie.

The 41-year-old writer and musician of Banbury, British Columbia, left behind two daughters, Marina, 13, and Lauren, 11.

"There can't be answers today," he wrote. "While I was still alive writing this, I was sad to know I'll miss these things -- not because I won't be able to witness them, but because Air, Marina, and Lauren won't have me there to support their efforts."

Airdrie Miller said her husband "was always a blogger."

"He'd been blogging prolifically for 10 years," she said.

Miller had written about his physical deterioration, documenting his chest cough, abdominal pain, voice loss, and the emotional toll of wearing diapers and becoming housebound.

"I'm at the point with my cancer that the car has finally bumped down off the pavement and we're driving on gravel now," he said in one of his final posts. "What I mean is, the end of the road is somewhere up ahead, not too far, and I'm not going back to smooth speedy travel, ever."

His writings discussed a range of topics from his craving for Diet Cherry Coke to his "Living Wake," which his family held for him in March.

His blog also connected him with a man named Jean-Hugues Pierson, a French citizen diagnosed with colorectal cancer on the same day.

"I could talk with someone who had to live the same experience," said Pierson, who had been able to battle his cancer into remission.

"Together we made our way through treatment in part by sending messages back and forth online," Miller posted on April 23.

Last month, Pierson traveled to British Columbia to visit Miller.

"I'm amazed JH would take time and spend money to see me," Miller wrote. "But it is our last chance, because it's my last chance, my last Easter, my final spring."

He died Tuesday.

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