Lion King Actress Shannon Tavarez Dies

The 11-year-old loses her battle with acute myeloid leukemia.

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Shannon Tavarez and her mother, Odiney Brown

Shannon Tavarez, a young soprano who starred in The Lion King on Broadway, has died at age 11 after a battle with acute myeloid leukemia, Broadway World is reporting. The actress played Young Nala from September 2009 until April, when she began feeling pain in her lower back and legs. Soon the emerging star was diagnosed, and the search for a donor began. Her story drew the attention of numerous celebrities, including Alicia Keys and Rihanna, who led campaigns to find a bone-marrow match for Tavarez. But doctors were unable to find a match for a bone-marrow transplant, so as an alternative she received umbilical-cord blood treatment in August. Since leaving The Lion King, Tavarez had undergone extensive chemotherapy and had been staying at a New York City hospital. And yet another example of why black and brown people need to become marrow donors -- to save a life. Rest in peace, little one.

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