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Owner of The Reptarium says goodbye in emotional video as he prepares to enter hospice care

'It’s been an amazing journey … each one of you have changed my life like you can’t believe'
Owner of The Reptarium
Posted at 3:37 PM, Jan 05, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-05 17:22:23-05

(WXYZ) — Brian Barczyk, a Macomb County man known globally for his love of animals and owner of “The Reptarium” in Utica, has posted an emotional goodbye message on social media amid his battle with pancreatic cancer.

Brian has more than 5 million subscribers on YouTube — where he shares his animal adventures in videos – or “vlogs.”

Owner of The Reptarium in Utica asking for donations for aquarium after cancer diagnosis

“I appreciate you guys so much, it’s been an amazing journey … each one of you have changed my life like you can’t believe,” said Barczyk in a YouTube video posted Friday afternoon.

Brian has been open about his health journey to his social media fans.

Brian was diagnosed on February 27, 2023. It was Stage 2 but quickly became Stage 4, he told WXYZ’s Alicia Smith last November.

Macomb County man known for his love of animals inspires fans

Pancreatic cancer is often caught in late stage because the symptoms can be vague.

She asked him what symptom prompted him to go to the doctor.

“The back pain," he replied. "The pain was abdominal, you know, like from stomach to back.”

Brian was building his dream — an expansion across the street from The Reptarium — called the “LegaSea Aquarium.”

He said in the video Friday that he wouldn’t be able to see it completed.

Brian said he would soon be entering hospice care, and that his family will continue plans to open the aquarium and update the vlog.

“I’m going to be able to look down on the legacy, I’m going to be able to look down on my family and everyone who I love,” he said in the emotional video.

“I love you guys, you guys be good … inspire people,” said Brian.

Watch his full video here.