South African Girl, Ontlametse Phalatse With Rare Genetic Disorder Dies At 18

Ontlametse Phalatse, 18-year-old girl, one of two South African girls living with Progeria, a rare genetic disorder that causes rapid aging has passed away.

She passed away yesterday night at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Ga-Rankuwa, outside Pretoria.

Her doctors predicted that she would only survive until her 14th birthday. But she went on to spend 4 more years.  Last month, President Jacob Zuma fulfilled her wish to meet him.

The Phalatse family has released a statement, saying Ontlametse was surrounded by her mother, brother, family members and friends.

“It is with great sadness to inform you of the passing of our first lady, Ontlametse Ntlami Phalatse,” read the statement.

“Our hearts are filled with pain and sadness but Ontlametse, as we know her would want us to carry on with her courageous spirit.”

President Jacob Zuma has sent his condolences to the family of  Ontlametse. He said, “A brave young fighter has fallen. May her spirit inspire all others living with disabilities or facing any difficulty, to soldier on as she did and live life to the fullest. We are really proud of her.”

Ontlametse Phalatse with president Zuma