English teen Hayley Okines has died at age 17 from complications related to the premature aging disorder known as progeria. Hayley's mother, Kerry, revealed the tragic news on her Facebook page on April 3. Hayley had recently been hospitalized to treat pneumonia in both lungs. She was released from the hospital on April 2 but died at home later that night.
Hayley had been told by doctors she would not live past 13. She defied the odds and lived life to the fullest including graduating high school and attending college. She also published her autobiography, Old Before My Time, at age 14. Hayley's story gained widespread attention through several television specials documenting her battle with the condition, including her participation in an experimental drug treatment in Boston.
Progeria is an extremely rare genetic condition which rapidly ages the victim and severely impedes growth. At the time of their death, sufferers often have physical health equivalent to that of a 100-year-old. There are currently only approximately 50 known cases of progeria in the world.
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