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Heartbroken Dad Speaks Out After 13-Year-Old Broadway Star Daughter Dies Of Asthma Attack

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A talented child star who performed on Broadway has died.

Actress Laurel Griggs passed away on Tuesday after suffering an asthma attack while at with her parents' home in Manhattan.

Griggs was just 13 years old.

CBS2's Alice Gainer spoke with her heartbroken father.

It's with heavy heart that I have to share some very sad news. My beautiful and talented granddaughter, Laurel Griggs,...

Posted by David B Rivlin on Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Griggs was an eighth grade student in Chelsea and an actress.

"She was a workaholic. She went to school every day and got straight As. She was fanatical about that," said Andy Griggs.

She was only 13, but had quite an impressive resume. In 2013, she made her Broadway debut at 6 as Polly in "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof," performing alongside Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson. She went on to portray "Ivanka" in the Tony Award-winning "Once" in 2013. She stayed for 17 months; the longest-running Ivanka in the Broadway production's history.

She also appeared in the movie "Cafe Society," on Saturday Night Live and did voiceover work for the animated series "Bubble Guppies."

She even wrote and directed a short film called "This Is Not A Drill," which was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival.

This beautiful young lady was part of our Once family. Please keep her family in your prayers.

Posted by Once the Musical on Saturday, November 9, 2019

With tears in his eyes, Andy Griggs told Gainer his daughter was all in when it came to acting and school. He told her if she ever wanted to stop, she could.

"It's always when she puts her hands on her hips and said 'Daddy, I'll deal with this. I'll take care of this,'" he said.

Last week while doing homework at home in Manhattan, Griggs suffered a severe asthma attack. Andy Griggs remembers his wife calling out to him.

"When she yelled out 'Andy! Not good!' I was like a rocket," he said.

They raced her out of the house. With a police precinct across the street, they were able to get her to Mount Sinai Hospital quickly. But Laurel Griggs went into cardiac arrest and passed away.

Her father says a few years ago she had a severe attack, which landed her in the hospital for a few days. They all knew to be vigilant, they were careful and feel they did everything they could.

"Asthma is an inflammatory disease. It's inflammation of the lungs and the airways of the lungs," said CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez. "The key to controlling asthma is keeping that inflammation beat down, so that it doesn't flare up. And so, if you're not careful with it or not taking meds at the right time, or other conditions are keeping you from absorbing the right amount of medication, that inflammation can come up."

The Griggs are heartbroken. Andy used to take her to school everyday and says they enjoyed ice skating.

Laurel is remember by many as humorous, punctual, responsible and very much loved.

"She was a good egg. Really, I was just so blessed," Andy Griggs said.

He vows to raise more awareness about asthma to try and help prevent other families from going through this,.

"I am deeply saddened by the sudden loss of one of my Ivanka sisters," fellow "Once" actress Eliza Holland Madore wrote on social media.

Family, friends, and fellow stage performers gathered in Chelsea on Sunday to remember Laurel's life.

"Laurel was a brilliant young lady whose impact in the lives of everyone she met went far beyond her immense talent. Her wisdom and kindness were gifts to the theatre community during her time on Earth. Our thoughts are with her family and friends during this difficult time," Young Broadway Actor News said in a statement.

The Broadway League says they are deeply sorry for the loss of such a bright, talented young woman.

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