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Broadway actress and singer dies at 59

Broadway actress and singer Rebecca Luker, known for her roles in “The Secret Garden” and “The Music Man,” died Wednesday at age 59, according to The New York Times and Today.

Luker died from complications stemming from ALS. The New York Times was the first to report the news of her death. USA TODAY has reached out for confirmation.

Luker, a soprano, was nominated for three Tony Awards, including “Show Boat” in 1995; “The Music Man” in 2000; and “Mary Poppins” in 2007. She also starred in a Broadway revival of “The Sound of Music” in 1998.

Luker made her Broadway debut in “The Phantom of the Opera,” according to the Times, where she took on the lead role of Christine in 1989. She started out as the understudy to original actress Sarah Brightman and later served as her alternate.

She announced her ALS diagnosis in February, reports the Times.

Danny Burstein and Rebecca Luker

ALS is short for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. As many as 30,000 people in the U.S. have it, according to Johns Hopkins. Annually, 5,000 new cases are diagnosed.

She is survived by actor husband Danny Burstein and two stepsons, according to the Times.

Broadway actors shared memories of Luker on Twitter.


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