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Teen’s birthday gift from late father goes viral

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 10/06/2017 Liz Shepard
Johnny Crow, 16, strums his guitar inside the Times Herald Thursday. A video of the teen receiving the guitar as a birthday gift from his late father has gone viral. © Liz Shepard/Times Herald Johnny Crow, 16, strums his guitar inside the Times Herald Thursday. A video of the teen receiving the guitar as a birthday gift from his late father has gone viral.

When 16-year-old Johnny Crow first saw his new Dean Razorback guitar, he was in disbelief. 

When he realised it was a birealisedift from his late father, he was both heartbroken and elated.

"I was definitely overjoyed that my father gave me one last thing to remember him by," said the Port Huron High sophomore. "I know a lot of kids don't get that."

His dad, John Crow, died at age 49 following a heart attack in their home April 1.

Johnny's 20-year-old sister, Chandler Crow, was contacted recently by a music story of her father's birthday purchase.

Peter Kruse, owner of the Port Huron Music Center, said John Crow John Crow ordered the guitar in January to ensure he got the exact model his son wanted for his birthday. 

Chandler Crow took a video of her brother getting the guitar at Port Huron Music Center Wednesday, his 16th birthday. She shared it on Facebook, and by Thursday afternoon it had been viewed more than 5.4 million times. 

"It's a real positive thing to be a part of," Kruse said. "It was a really emotional day for all of us here ... an amazing experience, amazing the world has found it equally as amazing as we did."

Nearly 3,000 comments have been posted with the video, the vast majority positive and supportive. Some shared stories of their own losses and wished Johnny a happy birthday. 

The teen said the well wishes and shared stories of grief have helped him cope. 

He was with his dad when he had his heart attack and performed CPR before rescue crews arrived. Johnny said seeing his dad in the hospital after doctors' efforts ended was challenging. 

"It's a very different experience seeing your hero on his deathbed," Johnny said. 

But the love and support spread on his now-viral video has been touching, he said. 

"It's good to feel you're not alone in this," Johnny said. 

He said he bonded with his dad through music. Johnny said music helped him get through emotional times. 

"I discovered music and it was amazing how it made me feel," he said. "It made that sadness go away, it made me more like my father, who I so aspired to be.

"He said he'd be famous one day," Chandler recalled her father saying of her brother. 

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