Child star Shannon Tavarez, who played in a Broadway production of “The Lion King” as Nala, lost her battle with leukemia on the first of this month. She earned her role as Nala through an open audition at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. She was a student at Harlem School of the Arts and was known for her powerful voice and her reputation as an excellent vocalist and pianist.
Before her death, she struggled with the cancer for quite some time, making headlines as people all over the country attempted to help her in her plight. Rapper 50 Cent made a youtube video encouraging viewers to donate bone-marrow through DKMS Americas. Over 8,000 people singed up as bone-marrow donors, but a sufficient match could not be found. Because of this, Shannon underwent an alternative treatment known as an umbilical cord transplant. The treatment ultimately failed, however, and the young actress died a star.
The news of Shannon’s death has echoed throughout the country and many people are in mourning over the tragedy of the passing. She is revered as a sweet young girl with a courageous soul and a heart of gold. The death is particularly hard on the family, who must cope with the tragic passing of such a young, talented girl.
Shannon’s mother, Odney Brown, who was closest to the young child star, has an especially hard time dealing with the loss of her beautiful daughter. Life has thrown the family a terrible circumstance and the recovery process will be strenuous, at best. Though the tragedy involved is great, the family has the benefit of nation-wide coverage and a tremendous amount of outside involvement providing massive amounts of psychological and physical support.
Though the family has not yet come forth with any words on the topic of Shannon’s death, they are most likely in grieving – providing her with every appropriate form of remembrance and suffering silently as thousands of fans look on with comforting thoughts and gestures.
Shannon will forever be remembered as a strong and passionate child star who struggled with a powerful personal affliction. Her death is a call for further awareness on the subject of cancer research and treatment, proving that the disease can strike anyone at any time. In her passing, we can come to appreciate what we have and know that there is always opportunity to be courageous and influential no matter our situation.
BBW News Desk, Shannon Tavarez Passes Away at 11, BroadwayWorld.com
Lindsay Powers, ‘Lion King’ Star Shannon Tavarez, 11, Dies, HollywoodReporter.com