South African-based artist/ DJ Leon Botha packed a lot of life into his 26 years, despite suffering a genetic condition that caused his body to age prematurely.
Botha, who was based in Cape Town, died June 5 -- a day after his 26th birthday -- from complications associated with progeria, a genetic condition that speeds up the aging process.
Although Botha was only in his mid-20s, he is believed to be one of the longest living survivors of the condition, Spinner.com reports.
As a musican and artist, Botha toured under the moniker DJ Solarize before joining forces with Cape Town electro-rap outfit Die Antwoord. Botha appeared in the band's video for the song “Enter the Ninja” as well as opening several of the group's shows with a solo DJ set.
Botha was not a trained artist, but took up painting after high school and, in 2007, Botha staged his first solo art exhibition, “Liquid Sword; I Am HipHop,” which centered on the genre's culture.
Although Botha is gone, MC and social activist Emile Jansen, his friend and colleague, said Botha touched everyone involved in art and hip hop.
“He had extremely intelligent views,” Jansen told iol.co.za. “We learned a lot from his perspective. But we knew at some stage we’d have to face him not being with us any longer. His death is a loss to young people. But the work of any artist, including Leon’s, will continue to live on.”
Botha was diagnosed with progeria when he was four, but despite the debilitating condition, which caused him to have a heart attack in 2005, he told South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper the reason why he remained positive his whole life.
"I am too focused on living my life as it is, to constantly draw my energy or focus towards my physical 'state,'" he once said. "Just like any other human being, I don't like to be reduced to a condition or a statistic and I sure as hell won't end up on one of the photos to be paraded on websites to inspire pity and s--t ... wrong guy."
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