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3 years after his death, this songwriter is getting rave reviews worldwide.

One family's search for closure after their son's death resulted in extraordinary art.

3 years after his death, this songwriter is getting rave reviews worldwide.

When he was 23, singer-songwriter Szymon Borzestowski died by suicide after years of depression.

Five years earlier, the Australian singer caught the attention of music industry professionals Mark Holland and Craig Hawker after his father mailed a demo to the record label EMI's offices. Holland and Hawker fell in love with the demo and worked to sign Szymon to a development deal.



A promotional picture of Szymon Borzestowski. Photo from Eloper Music.

But the following year, Szymon shelved his record-in-progress to address his mental health. Sadly, after four years of fighting depression, the gifted songwriter took his own life in late 2012.

In the two and a half years since his death, Szymon's family enlisted the help of Holland and Hawker to complete his life's work.

They were able to salvage the demos Szymon recorded for EMI before his death, fill in the gaps, and mix it into the album the family's late loved one never finished.

"Hearing the music is difficult sometimes because we miss him so much," Szymon's older brother, Kubush, told Australia's Daily Telegraph. "We hope it encourages other people, listening to the love and hope in it. Despite the battles and struggles we all face, music was a release for Szymon and out of this tragedy, hopefully it can inspire someone else."

The finished album's artwork. Image from Eloper Music.

Since its release this summer, Szymon's posthumous album, "Tigersapp," has received rave reviews.

Rolling Stone gave the record a perfect, five-star rating. Writer Darren Levin described Szymon as "a singer-songwriter with a producer's ear" and "honeyed vocals."

True to the review, the music is a lush mix of warm folk songs overlaid with electronic accents that give his songs a new and yet faintly familiar sound.

The album provides some closure for Szymon's family but also allows him to live on through his passion for music.

On the album's release date, Szymon's family posted a heartfelt message to his Facebook page.

"We are so proud of our son and brother Szymon. What an incredible legacy he has left, and we are so blessed and grateful for the opportunity to carry and share it with the world. Listening to this album brings us so much joy! We thank God for Szymon's life and the time we spent with him here on earth, and for the incredible gift He gave Szym to create. ... Our goal was to complete this album as best we could as a way to honour and remember Szymon, and to share with the world the hope, light and love that his music so evidently displays."

Depression doesn't discriminate. Sometimes it comes for the most brilliant among us.

How many artists, musicians, engineers, inventors, doctors, scientists, entrepreneurs, or athletes has the world lost to depression? How many Szymons of the world have we lost to this terrible illness? We'll never know.

But what we do know is that there's hope.

It comes in the form of loved ones. It comes in the form of compassionate medical care. It comes in the form of decreasing the stigma around depression. It's up to those of us left to generate hope for ourselves and those we care about in our fight to make the world a better, more compassionate place.

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True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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