Sam Berns died Friday night. The teenager was set to be an honorary co-captain at the New England Patriots’ game against the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday.
An inspirational 17-year-old boy, who was diagnosed with a rare disease as a baby, died Friday – one day before he was scheduled to receive the moment of a lifetime.
Foxborough Mass. teenager Sam Berns died Friday evening due to complications from Progeria – according to the Progeria Research Foundation which the family started in 1999 to find a cure for the disease.
Also known as Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome the illness causes premature aging and the foundation said most children with Progeria live an average of 13 years.
Berns, who was the subject of a 2013 HBO documentary “Life According to Sam” was scheduled to be the honorary captain for his hometown New England Patriots in their NFL playoff game against the Insianapolis Colts Saturday night.
The 17-year-old suffered from progeria, an illness that causes premature aging in children.
“I have the great privilege of meeting a lot of cool people: Presidents of countries, movie stars, great athletes, you-name-it. But it’s been a long time since I’ve run in to someone as cool and inspirational as Sam Berns,” Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft told Patriots.com.
.The team held a moment of silence in berns’ honor before the game and wide receiver Danny Amendola dedicated the game to him a few hours before kickoff. The Patriots won 43-22.
“Sad day in #PatriotsNation. RIP #SamBerns. Win it for Sam,” Amendola tweeted.
Several more people took to Twitter with the #prfsam hashtag to express condolences for the teenager that inspired millions of people.
In an interview for the documentary Berns, who was an Eagle Scout and member of his high school’s marching band, said he didn’t want people to feel bad for him because “because of the great things that we are doing in the film and the great environment that is created around all of us.”
“No matter what problems we are facing, there’s always room for happiness in our lives,” he said. “I guess the main thing is…you want to overcome the challenge,….so you should probably try to do everything you can to overcome the challenge. But, always remember that being happy is the most important thing. So do everything that you can to make your life a happy one.”
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