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'Lion King' Broadway actress Shannon Tavarez, 11, dies from leukemia




Sad news from Shannon Tavarez, the 11-year-old who recently played Young Nala in The Lion King stage show, has died from acute myelogenous leukemia.

The Queens-born soprano had received an umbilical-cord transplant in late August to substitute for a bone-marrow transplant, since a suitable donor had not been found. She had been undergoing chemotherapy since being diagnosed last spring. Alicia Keys, Rihanna and 50 Cent had campaigned to help find her a suitable donor, to no avail.

"She was a remarkable and talented young lady who touched the lives of those she entertained, as well as those who cared for her over the past several months," Cohen Children's Medical Center on Long Island said Tuesday in a statement to the AP. Tavarez died Monday afternoon.

Shannon attended the Harlem School of the Arts from the age of 3 to study vocals and piano, and made her Broadway debut in Sept. 2009 after winning her Lion King role after her first open audition. She was onstage four of eight shows a week until her symptoms started in April.

[Photo: Shannon in July. AP]

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[Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 1:54pm]


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