Inspirational teen dies from aging illness

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MASSACHUSETTS – Saturday night could have been a moment for Sam Berns to celebrate — standing in the middle of Gillette Stadium, flanked by some of his beloved New England Patriots, and no doubt cheered heartily by the nearly 70,000 fans surrounding him.

But it wasn’t to be.

Instead of having Berns as an honorary captain in their NFL playoff with the Indianapolis Colts, the Patriots held a moment of silence for the young man who inspired them and many others as he lived with progeria, which causes premature, accelerated aging.

Berns died Friday evening due to complications from the rare genetic disease, according to the Progeria Research Foundation.

He was 17.