An American Jewish teenager has lost his battle against a rare genetic disease that causes accelerated ageing in sufferers.

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Sam Berns helped further public understanding about the rare condition. Photo: YouTube.

Sam Berns, of Boston, passed away on Friday at the age of 17, a day before he was due to serve as honourary captain for American football team New England Patriots.

The brave youngster rose to prominence after featuring in acclaimed documentary “Life According to Sam,” which was subsequently screened at Jewish film festivals around the world.

Sam suffered from progeria and actually lived three years longer than is the typical life expectancy for children with the disease.

The HBO documentary showed how Sam’s parents and doctors sought new drug treatments that would prolong the lives of children with progeria.

In 2003, they identified the gene that causes the condition, and since then have developed drug treatment.

The coverage has helped further public understanding about the condition, which causes musculoskeletal degeneration, cardiovascular problems and other symptoms associated with ageing.[divider]

Watch Sam’s appearance at TEDxTalks‘ Mid Atlantic Conference here:

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