Laurel Griggs Was a 'Little Goofball in the Best Way,' Friend Says After Broadway Star's Death
Laurel Griggs‘ Broadway family is “heartbroken” over the 13-year-old’s tragic death.
Griggs, who was best known for her role as Ivanka in the Tony Award-winning musical Once, died on Nov. 5 in New York City due to a “massive asthma attack” after she was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital, her grandfather, David B. Rivlin, confirmed. Doctors were unable to revive her.
“She was so funny and silly, she was a little goofball in the best way,” Jill Zygo tearfully tells PEOPLE. Zygo was the guardian for the child actors on the Once set during its Broadway run.
“She was just her own person, which was really cool. She was only 7 or 8 when I worked with her for 17 months and 36-40 hours a week, which was so fun. Even when kids are 7 or 8, they’re not really their own person, but she was really her own person,” Zygo remembers. “She loved theater and her friends. She was very unique and lovable, everyone cared about her.”
Many of Griggs’ former Once cast members also attended the funeral, which took place on Nov. 7 at Park West Riverside in New York City.
“I hadn’t seen her for a couple years but it hit us all really hard,” Zygo says. “We’ve all been texting and emailing. Everyone is really heartbroken. The Once family is a tightknit group. Everyone is really gutted and our hearts are broken. I know a lot of the cast members were at the services. Everyone is shaken up.”
Zygo also reveals that the production’s national tour dedicated a recent show to Griggs and her family. “This beautiful young lady was part of our Once family. Please keep her family in your prayers,” the production wrote on Facebook Nov. 9.
Actress Eliza Holland Madore, who also played Ivanka in Once, paid tribute to Griggs on Instagram. “I am deeply saddened by the sudden loss of one of my Ivanka sisters. Laurel- you were always smiling and always made other people laugh,” Madore wrote. “I’m so incredibly grateful that I got to know you. You will never be forgotten, and we will never stop loving you. Everybody in the Once Family is going to keep you alive through us. R.I.P. My heart goes to her family.”
Griggs’ family members did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.