New Delhi: 15-year-old Nihal Bitla, the progeria in India, died on Monday night in Telangana. Nihal was at his native village to attend a family wedding.
He was living with this family in Bhiwandi, on the outskirts of Mumbai. The teenager was suffering from arthritis for a long time. Before being admitted to the hospital, Nihal was also suffering from dehydration.
A progressive genetic disorder that causes children to age rapidly, progeria is also called Hutchinson-Gilford progeria. The disease is known to have a short life expectancy.
Nihal was bullied in school, after Amitabh Bachchan’s movie ‘Paa’ released, in which BigB played the character of a progeria patient.
In December 2015, Nihal had met his icon and Bollywood star Aamir Khan after his Facebook post about his wish to meet his favourite actor went viral. The teenager had earlier featured on the page of Humans of Bombay on Facebook and had shared his views on Aamir’s film ‘Taare Zameen Par’.
On meeting Aamir, Nihal had requested the ‘Lagaan’ star to help spread the word for the Progeria Research Foundation to identify other patients from India.
According to the Progeria Research Foundation there are 150 to 200 children worldwide living with the degenerative disease who have not yet been diagnosed or identified. Out of these, 60 children are believed to be from India.