Broadway pays tributes to Laurel Griggs, 13, who dies of asthma attack

Image source, Alamy
Image caption,
Laurel (far right) made her Broadway debut as Polly in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 2013

Broadway has paid tribute to child star Laurel Griggs who has died aged 13.

Her family says she suffered a "massive asthma attack". Griggs made her Broadway debut when she was just six, performing alongside actress Scarlett Johansson in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

The role led to a career in theatre, TV and movies. She made two appearances on Saturday Night Live - the legendary US comedy sketch show.

Broadway has dimmed its lights to honour of the young star.

After playing Polly in Cat in a Hot Tin Roof, Laurel joined the cast of Once, a Tony award-winning musical. She also appeared in Cafe Society, a romantic comedy starring Steve Carell.

Image source, Instagram/Laurel Griggs
Image caption,
"Dreams do come true," Laurel captioned this photo outside SNL's studios.

The news of her death last week was met with tributes throughout the theatre community at the weekend.

"You were always smiling and always made other people laugh," wrote Once co-star Eliza Holland Madore. "I'm so incredibly grateful that I got to know you."

Her asthma was diagnosed at a young age, her grandfather David Rivlin told the New York Times.

"She took her medication every day and had some kind of machine for breathing if she needed it," he said. "It's just a destructive disease... God only knows what she could have done with her life."

What is asthma?

Asthma is a disease that causes a swelling of the airways, resulting in breathlessness, wheezing, coughing and a tight chest.

The World Health Organization reports it is the most common chronic disease among children, and around 235 million people suffer from asthma worldwide.

Asthma attacks can be triggered by a number of environmental factors, including smoke, pollution, allergens like mould or illnesses like the flu.

There is no cure for the condition, but it can be managed with medication, like inhalers.

More than 19 million adults and five million children in the US have asthma, according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data.

The CDC reported over 3,500 Americans died from asthma in 2017, and asthma led to more than 1.7 million emergency room visits in 2016.

In the UK, more than 1,400 adults and children died from asthma attacks in 2018.