Rihanna reacts to the passing of 11-year-old Broadway star
November 3rd, 2010
07:00 PM ET

Rihanna reacts to the passing of 11-year-old Broadway star

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.'”

Rihanna, Alicia Keys and 50 Cent also spread the word that Tavarez was in need of a bone marrow donor, urging their fans to get tested.

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.

“Shannon’s strength and her happy, positive spirit will live on in our hearts and minds each day. Shannon’s dream was to perform on stage, and that she did. We are grateful for the ongoing support from her Lion King family and the Broadway community. Shannon wanted to recruit people everywhere to “get swabbed” and help save the lives of those in need of a bone marrow transplant. In her memory, our family and friends will work tirelessly to carry out her wish through MatchShannon.com. It is our hope that Shannon’s legacy will continue to inspire other brave children battling leukemia. We are grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers.”

Filed under: Celebrities • theater

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. nayvonna

    hey rhianna girl i logve yur hair styles

    November 18, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. celebs911

    On the 11 years old that passed recently we feel sorry for the suffering she went through and we are wishing for her easy crossing over, and light.

    November 8, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. celebs911

    We wrote a new post on Rihanna and Chris Brown.. Is it possible a duet for the two of them?http://celebs911.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/rihanna-a-duet-with-chris-brown/

    November 8, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Shana

    Rihanna and Alicia are full of isht.

    November 4, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Federline


    November 4, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. michael

    I love you girl !!! pleese family accept my condolence, she was toooo damn bright.

    November 4, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. Terry

    This beautiful,talented little girl was on a few shows asking for people to join her to find bone marrow matches - her light was shining then & is shining even brighter now - Peace to her ,Peace to her family

    November 4, 2010 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. freddie mae pittman

    I will get tested 2 day I hope everyone read this story 2 help save Young people live with cancer, I am a 61 year old cancer savor this have 2 be the most sadth movement in my life to read this story about a young beauiful sole, May God bless her family and read Mark 11 23 & 24.

    November 4, 2010 at 6:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. Lissy rodriguez

    My deepest sympathy goes to shannon's parents & family i don't have enough words to say we really need more research to find a cure for leukemia the goverment has to find ways to contribute in the healthcare field nationwide and all the country's there is a way or another and for the goverment money should not be a excuse or a issue do to when it comes down to saving's lives around the world for every cancer pt is all worth it because life does not have a price and to shannon you are a beautiful girl and always will be alive in our hearts

    November 4, 2010 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  10. Name*Toni

    I am so sorry for the family's loss and the doctors were unable to find a match in time. All of my prays and love goes out to the family, relatives and friends. I'm sure her spirit they carries her beautiful smile in heaven.

    November 4, 2010 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  11. Bert Taveras

    Shannon was a special person, a gem, a star and now an angel! My wife and I were inspired by her story and went into the city to be tested during the first drive. While there we ran into many of Shannon’s friends and family who had volunteered to help DKMS with the effort. I recall all the love and hope there was in the air that day and we all felt she would definitely find a match. I myself was hoping it would be me. Unfortunately we couldn’t find one. But if I can say one thing that may help her friends and family cope, is that beyond her talents I know that Shannon had a special purpose.
    Just last week DKMS called me to tell me I was found to be a match for a 3 year old girl . I immediately jumped at the opportunity. I can’t say the joy I felt that I may be able to help this young girl live and this is all because of Shannon!!

    We Love you Shannon and thanks for being you!


    November 3, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. B=Dog

    By all means... lets not fund stem cell research. We could probably eradicate most disease and cancers with enough research! But nooooo these religious retards think it's bad to use fetal stem cells.

    November 3, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. kiki

    My heart goes out to her parents. I volunteer in a children's hospital and it's very heart breaking to watch what the children and parents go through. Rest in peace sweet little angel.

    November 3, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |

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