FOXBORO, Mass. (WHDH) – A hearse carried the body of 17-year-old Sam Berns away from Temple Israel in Sharon Tuesday morning as his parents and extended family followed close behind.

Berns died after 15 years fighting the rare genetic disease progeria.

He was a huge Patriots fan and owner Robert Kraft was among the mourners.

“He just had such a sense of confidence and courage about him and attitude on life that was so bright and cheerful,” Kraft said,

Berns had met many of the players at a Saturday practice Kraft invited him to attend.

“Automatically you just are attached to him. Definitely my thoughts and prayers are with his family,” Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich said.

Berns was supposed to serve as an honorary co-captain at Saturday night's game against the colts, but he died Friday. 

He also met Zdeno Chara on the ice at TD Garden and the Bruins will honor him tonight.

He was a junior at Foxboro High School and was a drummer in the school’s marching band.

After the funeral Kraft hosted a reception at Gillette Stadium that was attended by hundreds.

“It’s an honor to honor his spirit. It’s going to live with us for a long time,” Kraft said.

Bern’s parents are both doctors. In 1999 they created a website where more information on the disease is available.

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