"Just got off of a plane ride and got horrible news that our little star Shannon Tavarez has lost her battle against leukemia!" Rihanna wrote on Twitter late Tuesday. "Way too soon ... keep her family in your prayers."
Tavarez, who died Monday after a battle with acute myeloid leukemia, is being remembered as a talented and selfless girl who wanted to help others in her position even as her own health failed.
Her mother, Odiney Brown, reacted to the outpouring of support, saying in a statement: "Shannon's strength and her happy, positive spirit will live on in our hearts and minds each day. Shannon's dream was to perform on stage, and that she did."
Brown added: "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."
The Minskoff Theatre in New York, where Tavarez performed in The Lion King before being diagnosed last April, dimmed its lights Tuesday night in honor of its fallen star.