Ben Ellis, a teacher at Christ Presbyterian Academy, has died 10 days after 400 of his students and faculty members surprised him by gathering outside his home in Tennessee to sing to him. He passed away from esophageal cancer on Friday morning. The school announced his death in an email sent to the parents and the students.
It said, “With deep sadness and a very heavy heart, I write to tell you that our beloved Ben Ellis has passed away. Since last December, millions of people around the world have prayed for Ben to be healed of his cancer. Today, Ben entered heaven fully healed; he is home”
Ellis was diagnosed nine months ago with an aggressive form of esophagus cancer. He had decided recently to discontinue his treatment when the chemo therapy treatment stopped working. Ellis is survived by his wife Shelley and five children.
Ellis story got international attention when a video was shared by country star Tim McGraw, where his students gathered at his house to sing to the cancer stricken teacher. In the heartwarming video he can be heard joining in at times and singing along with the children.
The video has since been viewed more than 29 million times and shared more than 565,000 times. Bob Ellis, the teacher’s father has thanked McGraw in the comments for sharing his son’s story.
“Thank you, Tim,” Bob Ellis wrote. “Ben is my son. Through his ministry and teaching, he has positively touched countless hundreds of lives directly and many thousands indirectly. He, his wife and children are a beautiful family.”
Headmaster Morrow went on to say Ellis spoke to the students outside his window, telling them that he loved them all in an email posted to the parents, “I love you. I believe now more than ever that God is good, and that He is with us. I am full of hope, peace, and joy. I wish all this for you. Look to Jesus to know, to believe, and to be filled”.
Morrow further said, “I think we were honored that so many people would watch a man receive love from his students,” “Ben is a dear man and the fact that people want to honor him, we are so grateful. We are praying for his family, praying for his kids that are in our hallway everyday and trying to walk through this as a community.”