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."
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.
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."