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'Benjamin Button' Teen With Body Of 144-Year-Old Dies Aged Just 18

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'Benjamin Button' Teen With Body Of 144-Year-Old Dies Aged Just 18

A teenager who had an ultra rare 'Benjamin Button' condition, has sadly died at just 18.

Ashanti Smith passed away on Saturday, July 17, after living with a premature aging condition called Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome, which saw her age eight years for every year of her life.

But despite her being being the equivalent of a 144-year-old when she passed away, Ashanti had been determined to live as normal a life as possible.

Credit: Kennedy News and Media
Credit: Kennedy News and Media
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Her mum Phoebe Louise Smith, from Burgess Hill, West Sussex, said: "Ashanti's life was a joy. Even though progeria affected her mobility, it didn't affect anything else.

"She was a typical, stroppy 18-year-old and I loved everything about her. She was brilliant, she was gobby. She spoke her mind and everyone knew it.

"It didn't affect her heart, her willpower or the way she felt about herself - she felt beautiful every day. I made sure of it every day.

"Everyone loved and adored that little girl. She touched their hearts so much with her willpower.

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Credit: Kennedy News and Media
Credit: Kennedy News and Media

"[On the day she died] she was walking around, having KFC, walking around the park - absolutely fine. Then it came on sudden and it was about half an hour.

"She struggled but she said 'Mum, I love you. You've got to let me go'."

Ashanti died with Phoebe, dad Shain Wickens and a family friend Kayleigh Cartwright by her side.

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Now distraught Phoebe is planning 'the biggest brightest send off' for her daughter, and is hoping to have four white horses, feathers, Pride flags and BTS memorabilia - as Ashanti was a huge fan of the K-Pop band.

A JustGiving page has been launched by Ashanti's pals to help generate some funds for the funeral, which Phoebe wants to be a celebration of her daughter's life.

Credit: Kennedy News and Media
Credit: Kennedy News and Media

Phoebe said: "[On Monday night], we set off 150 helium balloons for her and a £400 display of fireworks, then we're doing 300 lanterns.

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"The condition gave her arthritis, and it gave her heart disease and heart failure. She passed away of heart failure and natural causes.

"The funeral's going to be gay and BTS [themed]. She's having four pure white horses, with feathers and gay flags and BTS signs.

"Her coffins going to have BTS all round it and on top it's going to be me and my four children in gay t-shirts.

Credit: Kennedy News and Media
Credit: Kennedy News and Media
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"It's going to be a party. She's having a wide screen with videos playing and because she swore a lot, [there's] going to be a bleeper. Everyone who sees the video will laugh so hard.

"Ashanti was so proud to be gay. She was the proudest girl and she embraced the gay community. She loved it - and BTS."

You can donate to the fundraiser here.

Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News and Media

Topics: UK News

Claire Reid
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