TORONTO (AP) -- A Canadian man who blogged about his battle with colorectal cancer left a final post before he died last week, a message that drew millions of hits.
A day after Derek Miller, 41, died in Burnaby, British Columbia, of complications from cancer, a message entitled "The Last Post" was posted on his site penmachine.com.
"Here it is. I'm dead, and this is my last post to my blog. 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," read the post.
Miller, who been blogging for 10 years, had been one of the best known bloggers in British Columbia. He was diagnosed with stage four metastatic colorectal cancer in 2007.
"It turns out that no one can imagine what's really coming in our lives. We can plan, and do what we enjoy, but we can't expect our plans to work out," he wrote in his final post.
"I think and hope that's what my daughters can take from my disease and death. And that my wonderful, amazing wife Airdrie can see too. Not that they could die any day, but that they should pursue what they enjoy, and what stimulates their minds, as much as possible they can be ready for opportunities, as well as not disappointed when things go sideways, as they inevitably do."
Miller's post-mortem message May 4 went viral, drawing 143 comments and causing the site to crash and forcing a friend of Miller's to move the site to another server.
His wife, Airdrie Miller, said she believed the site had about 3 million hits after his last post. Alistair Calder, the friend who moved the site to a larger server after it crashed, said it could have been as high as 8 million hits, but it was hard to pin down the number because of the crash.
Airdrie Miller told The Associated Press that her daughter updated her Facebook status shortly after saying her dad's blog went viral because he was such a great guy.
"I thought that was very sweet, touching and true," said Airdrie Miller, adding that though she knew he would succumb to the cancer, it's just now setting in that her partner of 16 years is really gone.
Airdrie Miller, who also blogged about her experience dealing with his cancer at talkingtoair.com, said her husband had lost his voice for the past two months and his blog helped her cope, knowing that though he couldn't speak, his mind was still active.
"When he lost his voice is when I really started reading his blog so I could know what was going on in his head. We used text messaging, twitter, all forms of social media to connect," she said. "And even now, when my daughter is finding it hard to cope, she'll text me in the middle of the night and sometimes I wake up to 43 texts from her. All these modes have allowed us all to communicate while going through such a difficult time. His blog will become a memorial for me."
Friend and fellow blogger Mark Blevis said Miller's death caught him off guard.
"I didn't expect his decline in health over the last few months to be so fast. More importantly, you realize how small the world has become and how close we've all become through our online relationships, which become real world relationships," said Blevis.
Miller wore many hats in his lifetime. He had a marine biologist degree, but had worked as a writer and editor since the 1980s. He was also a musician and photographer.
In his blog's bio section, he wrote that he discovered his cancer was terminal late in 2010 and that he expected it to kill him sometime in 2011 or early 2012.
The father of two tween girls blogged about everything from getting his voice back to sipping cherry cola at 3 a.m. in his hospital bed to his realization that death is impending.
In a post entitled "A wondrous place" Miller wrote, "The world, indeed the whole universe, is a beautiful, astonishing, wondrous place. There is always more to find out. I don't look back and regret anything, and I hope my family can find a way to do the same."