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Prematurely old boy who inspired film dies at 17

AP

Sam Berns, a teenager whose battle with a rare genetic condition that accelerates the aging process became the subject of a documentary, has died. He was 17.

Berns, of Foxborough, Massachusetts, died Friday after complications from Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, commonly known as progeria. The Progeria Research Foundation, which was founded by his parents, announced his death. Berns was diagnosed with progeria when he was 22 months old. His parents founded the nonprofit foundation after encountering a lack of information and research on the condition, whose victims live an average of 13 years.

The work by his parents, Leslie Gordon and Scott Berns, who are doctors, on behalf of progeria patients is featured in the documentary “Life According to Sam.”

The exposure has brought greater recognition to the condition, which causes musculoskeletal degeneration, cardiovascular problems and other symptoms that are associated with aging.