The country woke up to the shocking news of the passing on of the only Black South African girl with a rare genetic disorder, progeria. Progeria is a rare genetic disorder which causes rapid ageing.

Ontlametse passed away at the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Ga-Rankuwa on Tuesday night surrounded by her mother, brother family members and friends.
She celebrated her 18th birthday last month after the doctors had given her only 14 years to live. She also met with President Jacob Zuma for her birthday as part of her list wishes.

Her family has released a statement on her Facebook page, saying she passed away at the Doctor George Mukhari Academic Hospital on Tuesday after experiencing breathing problems.Ontlametse described herself as “the first lady” after she became the first black child diagnosed with Progeria. She never let her disorder disrupt her life; she instead used it to motivate others. Phalatse was always full of life and carried a lot of confidence in her.

Ontlametse touched the hearts of many when she first appeared on Etv’s Third Degree programme where she since received a lot of support locally and internationally.

Messages of condolences have been shared on social media:

South African Gov. (@GovernmentZA): We would like to extend our deepest condolences on the passing of Ontlametse Phalatse. Ugqatso lwakhe ulufezile

Jimbo (@jimbolucale): The country has lost one of the brightest girls. RIP

Elisa (@eleihsa): You have lived your best life inspite of your illness. Now rest in the arms of your father #RIPOntlametse

Lindiwe Dhlamini (@Lisher_Rayze): Doctors had predicted she’d only live until the age of 14, she celebrated her 18th birthday in March…Faith #RIPOntlametse

By Keseabetsoe Mogashoa

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