• Pinay who suffered from rare aging disorder passed away
  • She was only 19, but had the body of a 132-year-old due to the disease
  • Condolences pouring in from around the world

MANILA, Philippines – Condolences to the family of Ana Rochelle Pondare.

On its Facebook, the Progeria Research Foundation (PRF) announced the passing of Pondare who was only 19 years old but had the body of a 132-year-old due to progeria.

“Our thoughts are with the friends and family of the beautiful Ana Rochelle from the Philippines who passed away at the age of 19. Gone from our sight, but never our memories,” read the post which was flooded with condolences.

The PRF had extended assistance to Pondare before. A surgeon, Pierre R. Clero, helped her extend her life with a special diet and creams for her skin.

Many sympathizers also posted their condolences on Pondare’s Facebook page. Earlier posts indicated she died at around 5 PM on August 10 after being comatose at the hospital. One picture showed her attached to a ventilator, with the caption asking kind-hearted persons to give financial assistance or prayers for her recovery.

Pondare, one of only 80 known sufferers of the ultra-rare disorder which is also known as the “Benjamin Button” disease, celebrated her 18th birthday which was graced by her favorite singer Sarah Geronimo.

Experts on the disease said progeria sufferers die at the age of 14 years on the average. Pondare, they said, was one of the few who defied the prognosis.

A rare disease, progeria is caused by an abnormal protein called progerin which sticks to the cells and causes it to age more rapidly.

According to PRF, Pondare was only one of two cases in the Philippines.