MANILA - Nineteen-year-old Rochelle Pondare, who is suffering from a rare disease that makes her age eight times faster than normal, has died, according to a US-based foundation doing research on the illness.
Two years before her death, doctors said Pondare had the appearance of a 136-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," Progeria Research Foundation (PRF) said Thursday.
No other details were shared.
Former "TV Patrol" anchor Korina Sanchez, who interviewed Pondare for her show "Rated K," shared photos taken during the late teen's birthday party last year.
"Rochelle had an unusually happy and hopeful disposition," Sanchez said. "She even got to her debut party. For her 18th birthday she wished she could at least help her mother and leave a home for them behind knowing she could leave them anytime soon."
"And we were able to make her dream come true thanks to the housing development company Lumina. A small home for her mother and siblings," added Sanchez.
According to the PRF, most progeria patients die at 14 years old, making Pondera one of the few exceptions to the trend.
"You will be missed Rochelle!" Sanchez said.
Aside from her appearance on "Rated K," Pondare was also featured on ABS-CBN's "Kapamilya Thank You" campaign, where she was visited by her idol, Sarah Geronimo.