Anniversary of Ontlametse Phalatse's death: Remembering her short life, but eternal legacy

Anniversary of Ontlametse Phalatse's death: Remembering her short life, but eternal legacy

Thursday marks the one year anniversary of the death of Ontlametse Phalatse, the teen who warmed the hearts of all South Africans.

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Phalatse was one of only two South Africans diagnosed with Progeria‚ a rare genetic condition that speeds up the ageing process.

On 12 April 2017, the 18-year-old scummed to lung failure, and her sudden passing shook the nation.

Only weeks before her death, Phalatse met with then president Jacob Zuma. She requested a meeting with the former head of state for her birthday, which was on 25 March.

Zuma agreed to meet her, gifting her a bouquet of flowers. She was set to attend his birthday 75th birthday celebrations that Wednesday, but sadly, she never made it.

When news broke of her passing, Zuma expressed his condolences to the family of "the special child of South Africa".

"Our lives were most touched by meeting Ontlametse last month. She was very special indeed. I was impressed by her sharp intellect, warm personality, brilliant ideas and her determination to use her condition to motivate others that they can achieve their goals regardless of any challenges. A brave young fighter has fallen," he said in a statement.

"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."

The 'tiny giant' suffered during her last few moments on earth. It was reported she told the taxi driver 'I'm struggling to breathe'.

Her death broke the hearts of those touched with her 'warm personality', and her legacy would continue to inspire many more.

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