Lion King Alum Shannon Tavarez Loses Battle with Leukemia at Age 11

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Story from NEW YORK (WPIX) — 

A young Broadway star who was suffering from an aggressive form of leukemia has died, PIX 11 News has learned.

The family of Shannon Tavarez said the 11-year-old girl died Monday.

Tavarez, a native of Queens, had a promising Broadway career. She landed the role of young Nala in the hit musical "The Lion King" on Broadway. As she juggled a full day of school and four shows a week at the Minskoff Theater, things significantly slowed down for Tavarez after she was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia.
According to her family, the talented young star was performing on stage when the symptoms of her disease first surfaced. Her lower back and legs suddenly started hurting making it difficult for her to perform or even walk.

In July, PIX 11 News spearheaded an aggressive campaign to bring awareness to bone marrow donation and hundreds of compassionate New Yorkers packed a Times Square church in an effort to help the young girl.

Tavarez received treatment at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York in Long Island, and doctors said a bone marrow transplant from a stranger was her only chance at survival.

Tavarez underwent two rounds of chemotherapy.

Over the summer, her mother, Odiney Brown, told PIX 11 News that Shannon hoped to be well enough to start sixth grade in the fall and resume her career in theater.

Rest in Peace to Shannon Tavarez, She was an amazing young girl . Our hearts and deepest condolences goes out to her family

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