Shannon Tavarez

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Shannon Tavarez
Shannon Tavarez.jpg
Born Shannon Skye Tavarez
January 20, 1999
Bellerose, Queens, New York
Died November 1, 2010(2010-11-01) (aged 11)
New Hyde Park, New York
Cause of death Acute myeloid leukemia
Occupation Actress, Singer
Years active 2005 - 2010
Parent(s) Odiney Brown Tavarez (mother)
Relatives Sehai Malia Tavarez (sister)

Shannon Skye Tavarez (January 20, 1999 – November 1, 2010) was an American child actress and singer. She appeared in the Broadway theatre production of The Lion King by Walt Disney Theatrical, where she played the role of the young lion cub Nala.

Personal life[edit]

Tavarez was a resident of Bellerose, Queens, New York City, and attended P.S. 176. Cambria Heights[1][2] She was chosen to play the role of Nala after a cattle call audition in 2008 at the Apollo Theater.[1] She became one of two girls who split the role, with each girl performing four shows weekly. Several months after debuting in the show in September 2009, she was forced to leave the production after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. The daughter of an African American mother and a Dominican father,[3] Tavarez faced much greater difficulty in attempts to find a match for a bone marrow transplant as minorities are significantly underrepresented in donor registries, despite efforts by such performers as Alicia Keys, Rihanna, and 50 Cent to recruit prospective donors from among their fans. Unsuccessful in finding a bone marrow donor, Tavarez underwent an umbilical cord blood transplant in August 2010.[1]


On November 1, 2010, Tavarez died at the age of 11 at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York, due to acute myeloid leukemia.[1] The lights at the Minskoff Theatre, where The Lion King was playing, were dimmed the night she died.[2] In a statement released following her daughter's death, Odiney Brown said that "Shannon's dream was to perform on stage, and that she did."[4] A year after her death Shannon's mother started Shannon's S.H.A.R.E Foundation.[5] In 2012 Odiney gave birth to her second daughter Sehai Malia.[6]


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