*The Broadway theater where “The Lion King” is playing dimmed its lights Tuesday night in honor of Shannon Tavarez, the 11-year-old actress from the show who lost her battle with leukemia.
Tavarez 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.
“Shannon’s strength and her happy, positive spirit will live on in our hearts and minds each day,” her mother, Odiney Brown, said in a statement. “Shannon’s dream was to perform on stage, and that she did.”
As previously reported, the sixth-grader’s battle with cancer won the hearts of many, including Alicia Keys, Rihanna and 50 Cent. The Minskoff Theatre, home of the “The Lion King,” paid tribute to the actress by dimming its marquee lights.
“It is our hope that Shannon’s legacy will continue to inspire other brave children battling leukemia. We are grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers,” her family said in the statement.
Upon hearing the sad news, Rihanna tweeted on Tuesday, “Just got off of a plane ride and got horrible news that our little star Shannon Tavarez has lost her battle against leukemia. Way too soon … keep her family in your prayers.”