Rihanna "Heartbroken" After Child Pal Succumbs to Leukemia

Celebrity News Jan. 28, 2010 AT 6:38PM
Rihanna "Heartbroken" After Child Pal Succumbs to Leukemia Credit: Tony Barson/WireImage.com; Karen Detrick

Rihanna is mourning the death of her 6-year-old New York City friend Jasmina Anema, who lost her courageous battle with leukemia late Wednesday.

"I am incredibly heartbroken that Jasmina has passed away," she tells UsMagazine.com in a statement. "She was such a brave and special child. She showed me more strength and spirit than many adults I have met. I feel blessed that I was able to have her in my life, and know that through her example she has saved many lives. She was truly an angel on earth."

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Jasmina first captured Rihanna's heart in 2008 after the R&B singer, 21, saw a video made by Jasmina's best friend and her mother in an effort to find the girl a bone-marrow donor. Rihanna -- who made a special visit to NYC to see Jasmina last spring -- followed up their video with her own video helping to find a donor.

On Monday, Jasmina, who received a bone-marrow transplant last year, was hospitalized after suffering fevers and shortness of breath. She was later diagnosed with pneumonia. By Wednesday, the girl's health had worsened. At 10:55 p.m. Wednesday, the girl passed away, her mother wrote on the Caring Bridge blog she had set up to keep thousands of well-wishers up to date on the girl's condition.

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Singer Kelly Rowland -- who also grew close to Jasmina -- tells UsMagazine.com exclusively that when she heard the news, "I was absolutely heartbroken.

"She was a brave and lovely little girl that captured my heart the moment I met her," she tells Us. "My heart goes out to her mother and best buddy, Isabelle and KMS- the organization that introduced me to her. Jasmina is with the angels now, may she rest in peace."

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