#RIPOntlametse - Pics that show her amazing spirit

South Africa

Cape Town – The death of South Africa's much-loved "special child", Ontlametse Phalatse, on Wednesday, has evoked an outpouring of emotional tributes on social media.

Ontlametse was one of the two South African young women living with Progeria, an extremely rare genetic disorder of rapid ageing at a very early age.

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Ontlametse Phalatse is photographed at her home in Hebron, near Pretoria. Picture: Denis Farrell/APPresident Jacob Zuma said that he was saddened by the passing on of Ontlametse Phalatse and described her as a "brave young fighter". Picture: Instagram/Ontlametse PhalatseOntlametsi Phalatsi met with President Jacob Zuma at the presidential's guest house in Pretoria to her birthday last month. Picture: Oupa MokoenaOntlametse Phalatse at her school in Hebron in 2011. Picture: Denis Farrell/APOntlametse Phalatse in 2011 Picture: Denis Farrell/AP

Doctors did not think Ontlemetse would live to see her 14th birthday, but last month she turned 18 after having finished matric.

Ontlametse was known for her confidence and big personality

When meeting President Jacob Zuma recently Ontlametse, of Hebron, brought bright smiles to the meeting. She explained that she was the First Lady because she was the first (recorded) black child with the Progeria disorder.

“I call myself a first lady because I’m the first black child with this disease. Which other black child do you know with this disease?”

After their meeting Zuma described her as "bubbly and articulate, a clear indication that she doesn’t feel pity for herself. I must say I am really inspired by her attitude and fighting spirit."

South Africans also paid tribute to Ontlametse on social media.

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