Sam Berns lost his well-publicized battle against Progeria — a disease which causes premature aging in children — on Friday at the age of 17, according to a statement issued by the Progeria Research Foundation.
Berns’ heroic fight was chronicled in the 2013 HBO documentary Life According to Sam.
The genetic condition Progeria derives its name from the Greek word for “prematurely old.” Children born with the disease usually exhibit characteristics between the ages of 18-24 months. Typical signs of the rare disorder include failure to grow, loss of body fat and hair, aged skin, stiffness of joints and heart disease.
Shortly after Berns was diagnosed with Progeria at 22 months of age his parents started the Progeria Research Foundation.
Bern’s story touched many, including New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
“I loved Sam Berns and am richer for having known him,” Kraft said in a statement issued after the passing. Berns was originally invited to act as honorary team captain for the Patriots home playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts. Instead, a moment of silence was held before the game to mark Sam’s remarkable life and unfortunate passing.