After touching the hearts of many with her story, 11-year-old Broadway actress Shannon Tavarez died of leukemia on Nov. 1, according to the Associated Press.

Tavarez, who played Nala in the Broadway hit “The Lion King,” died at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park in Long Island. The Queens, N.Y. native suffered from myelogenous leukemia, which is common 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, according to the AP. “Shannon’s dream was to perform on stage, and that she did.”

After beating hundreds of other children for the role as Simba’s childhood pal and girlfriend in 2009, Tavarez was forced to quit the show in April when doctors diagnosed her with the disease.

“When I found out, it hit me really hard, like someone was throwing a ball at me,” Tavarez told Blackvoices.com in August. “It was shocking and I thought, ‘Why me?’”

Chemotherapy stripped Tavarez of her long, curly locks, but the precocious sixth-grader still remained in good spirits while doctors worked to find a matching bone marrow donor to do a transplant and performed an umbilical cord transplant in August in hopes of fighting the cancer.

Superstars Alicia Keys, Rihanna and 50 Cent all campaigned to find matching bone marrow donors and Katharina Harf, co-founder of the bone marrow donor center DKMS, said more than 10,000 people registered as potential donors. But doctors were unable to find a match, explaining her mixed African-American and Hispanic racial background made finding a compatible donor difficult.

Health experts say that minorities and racially-mixed individuals rarely find matches because few people from those groups register as potential donors. According to the National Marrow Donor Program, African-American patients have the lowest likelihood of finding a matched marrow donor at 60 percent, compared to 88 percent for Caucasians.

The Broadway Theatre, the home of the “The Lion King,” dimmed its lights on Nov. 2 in Tavarez’s memory.

“It is our hope that Shannon’s legacy will continue to inspire other brave children battling leukemia,” her family said in a statement, according to the AP. “We are grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers.”