Why Family of YouTube Star Caleb Logan Bratayley, 13, Is Livestreaming His Memorial Service: 'They're Trying to Create Closure,' Says Source
The online sympathy surrounding the sudden death of their son has moved the Bratayleys to broadcast his memorial tonight on Periscope and Facebook
“Due to an outpouring of support and people’s hope to be part of his memorial, we have decided to live-stream the ceremony,” the family posted on their Instagram account.
A source close to the family tells PEOPLE, “They’re trying to create closure for the fans, most of whom are really young. It is definitely a more intimate relationship that they have with their fans than traditional celebrities have with theirs.”
“They’ve been broadcasting their life for a long time – every day for years. It was just a terrible tragedy. They are really good people,” the source adds.
The family’s decision has met with some resistance from commenters online. A Twitter user said she was “torn” with the family’s decision. Another wrote the memorial is a “private affair” and shouldn’t be used to “gain views.”
The overwhelming response online, however, has been largely supportive. Comments on the family’s most recent video on their YouTube channel are supportive, and some commenters on Instagram have come out in favor of the family’s decision.
“Caleb loved the Internet,” one wrote. “He would want it to be this way.” #PurpleForCaleb, a hashtag encouraging users to wear Caleb’s purportedly favorite color, has been circulating on Instagram as well.
The teen was pronounced dead last Thursday after the Anne Arundel County Police Department responded to a medical emergency at the family’s Maryland home, authorities told PEOPLE.
Caleb’s mother, Katie, originally said that her son died of natural causes, but on Monday, his parents revealed that he likely suffered from an undetected medical condition, though they did not elaborate on what that might be.
The exact cause and manner of death of the YouTube star is currently being investigated, Bruce Goldfarb, the public information officer of the state medical examiner’s office in Baltimore, tells PEOPLE.
• Reporting by ELIZABETH LEONARD