November 3rd, 2010
07:00 PM ET
Rising Broadway performer Shannon Tavarez, 11, passed away on Monday after a battle with leukemia that had Rihanna, Alicia Keys and 50 Cent fighting with her.
"Just got off of a plane ride and got horrible news that our little star Shannon Tavarez has lost her battle against leukemia," Rihanna tweeted on Tuesday. "Way too soon ... keep her family in your prayers."
The young talent from Queens, New York, landed the role of Young Nala in the Broadway production of “The Lion King" after her first open audition at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, and performed in four out of eight shows a week until she was diagnosed with cancer in April, BroadwayWorld.com reports.
Doctors had difficulty finding a bone marrow match for the 6th-grader, and Tavarez's fellow young "Lion King" performers, along with youth from other shows, pitched in and sold bracelets to help raise money for her medical bills. In a video posted on her website, Tavarez encouraged everyone to get tested for compatibility.
“Who knows? You might be my match,” Tavarez said. “Or, you may be able to help other young people with similar illnesses. And remember... 'One swab will do the job.'”
In August, Tavarez received an umbilical-cord blood transplant as an alternative because the right bone marrow match hadn’t been found.
In the aftermath of Monday's devastating news, Tavarez’s mother, Odiney Brown, released a statement.
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