Lorenzo Odone, whose parents' battle to save him from a nerve disease was depicted in the film

Lorenzo's Oil

, has died at his Virginia home, having lived more than 20 years longer than doctors predicted.

Mr. Odone, who doctors had predicted would die in childhood, died Friday, a day after his 30th birthday, said his father, Augusto Odone.

He had come down with aspiration pneumonia recently after getting food stuck in his lungs, his father said. He began bleeding heavily, and before an ambulance reached their home, his son was dead, Odone said.

"He could not see or communicate, but he was still with us," Odone said. "He did not suffer. ... That's the important thing."

Mr. Odone was found at age 6 to have adrenoleukodystrophy, or ALD. Doctors told his parents the disease, caused by a genetic mutation that causes the neurological system to break down, would lead to death in two years.

Susan Sarandon and Nick Nolte starred as Michaela and Augusto Odone in 1992's Lorenzo's Oil, which recounted their efforts to formulate the oil they said helped their son fight the neurological disease, despite lacking scientific backgrounds.

A study published in 2005, based on research with 84 boys, showed that a treatment made from olive and rapeseed oils - patented by Augusto Odone - can prevent onset of the disease's symptoms for most boys who receive an ALD diagnosis. - AP