The cause of death for 13-year-old Broadway star Laurel Griggs has been revealed, with family members saying that she suffered a fatal asthma attack while doing homework inside her family’s Manhattan apartment.
As the New York Post’s Page Six reported, the parents of the young actress said that she felt ill very suddenly on Tuesday as she worked on a homework assignment, which her father said seemed unusual. Andy Griggs told the newspaper that Laurel “would never normally say something like that,” and that her statement set off alarms in his head.
The report noted that Laurel had asthma since birth, and had a serious asthma attack three years ago that led to her parents monitoring her closely afterward. Andy said that they moved into action quickly when Laurel said she wasn’t breathing well on Tuesday.
“My wife noticed that she was having trouble breathing, and she turned to me, and she said, ‘Andy, get her to the hospital right away,'” her father said.
Laurel’s condition worsened quickly, and a police officer tried to perform CPR inside a police vehicle that rushed the girl to Mount Sinai Hospital. Her condition never improved, however, and Laurel died a few hours after being taken to the hospital.
Family members announced Laurel’s death the following day, and she was laid to rest on Thursday.
“The world lost a real princess who only wanted to make the future happy for all,” her grandfather, David B. Rivlin, wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. “Acting was just a childhood dream come true and she had big plans for the future.”
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted, there are 5.5 million people under the age of 18-years-old with asthma, and for all ages, a total of 3,564 deaths from asthma. While fatal asthma attacks are rare, the condition can have serious health effects, and slightly more than 10 percent of all emergency room visits have asthma listed as a factor.
Griggs was known for her work both on the stage and the small screen. She played the role of Ivanka in the Tony Award-winning play, Once, had a role alongside Scarlett Johansson in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and had also made appearances on Saturday Night Live.
Laurel’s death has brought an outpouring of support from those who worked with her, as many took to social media to share condolences with the family and mourn the loss of the bright and budding star.