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PostHeaderIcon Young ‘Lion King’ actress Shannon Tavarez with leukemia Passes Away

Shannon Tavarez, the 11-year-old who starred on Broadway in “The Lion King” and whose battle with leukemia won the hearts of many, has died.

Shannon Tavarez

Shannon Tavarez


Shannon died Monday afternoon at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, on Long Island, of acute myelogenous leukemia, a common type of leukemia among adults, but rare among children.

Serving as an alternative to a bone-marrow transplant, Shannon received the umbilical-cord blood from an anonymous donor, as doctors were unable to find a bone marrow match. Since her diagnosis last spring, she had been through extensive chemotherapy and had spent most of her days and nights in the children’s ward of a hospital in New York. She has recently been in a children’s ICU struggling to stabilize.

Shannon got the role of Young Nala after her first open audition at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. She attended Harlem School of the Arts for vocals and piano from the age of 3. Her coach was the person who encouraged her to audition. She made her Broadway debut in September of 2009, and she played four of eight shows a week until April when her symptoms began.

Our prayers go out to Shannon’s friends and family.

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