Fans in New England have had a chance to read and watch Foxboro High School student Sam Berns win over the hearts of everyone in the region this season, with the young man sparking awareness to Progeria, the rapid aging disease.

Berns, who was a huge Patriots fan, reportedly passed away Friday.  He was just 17 years old.

After learning about Berns thanks to his HBO Documentary, “Life According to Sam”, Patriots owner Robert Kraft reached out to to him, which included the opportunity for him to meet the team.  Patriots.com actually posted a terrific video back  in October, and it was heartwarming to watch him interact with the players.

Last year, a fundraising campaign which included a $500,000 matching donation from Patriots owner Robert Kraft raised $1.18 million for progeria research.

He was a special person and the timing of his loss is certainly tough as one would have to believe he was looking forward to tongiht.  We extend our best wishes to his family.