A young girl whose body resembled that of an 80-year-old due to a rare ageing condition has tragically died.
Iryna ‘Irochka’ Khimich, 10, suffered from progeria – a genetic condition which causes children to age rapidly.
The talented artist, from Vinnytsia in the Ukraine, had been selling her artwork to fund treatment in the US when she died on Wednesday. She was the only girl in the country with the condition.
Her grief-stricken mother Dina, 39, announced on social media yesterday: "Irochka has died. Her heart stopped yesterday. Sorry Sunshine, we couldn't save you this time.”
Her dream was to see Paris, and there were plans for an exhibition of her paintings in France, but sadly time ran out.
Doctors said that every year her body would age by almost a decade.
Ukrainian businessman Andrey Zdesenko, who helped raise money for her treatment, said: "Irochka Khimich has gone to heaven.
“A fragile, unique and talented girl, she bravely struggled for ten years with the terrible and rare disease progeria.
“There was so much light, love, vitality, sincerity in her.
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“How vividly she saw the world, how she hurried to express it all in her paintings. She drew different pictures with both hands. Incredible.
“We are happy that we managed to show her work. I remember her happy eyes and shy smile.
“A smile and recognition of the creator, to whom so many people came to [see at] the personal exhibition. And the happy pride of parents.
He continued: “Thank you for your contribution to our world. Be forever among your bright and beautiful heroes… there on the clouds.
“We mourn with your loved ones.”
Her mother revealed the toll the condition took on her daughter last year, saying: "I'm taking a risk for her to live (with treatments). I am afraid of how her body will react, but I want her to be alive and fine. You live as if on a powder keg. You wake up in the morning and feel 'thank God'.”
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