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Shakir Cannon, advocate for minority health, dies

Shakir Lateef Cannon, a 34-year-old advocate for raising awareness of sickle cell disease and improving health disparities affecting minorities, whose efforts took him to the White House in recent years, died Tuesday at Albany Medical Center Hospital, following a sudden respiratory infection, according to his mother.

The respiratory infection was a complication from the sickle cell disease he’d battled all his life, his mother, Cheryl Cannon, said. Shakir, who’d received monthly blood transfusions since having a stroke at age 3, had trouble breathing Sunday night at his home in Clifton Park and was taken by ambulance to Albany Med.

He left behind a wife of six years, Chau Duong Cannon, and their 5-year-old daughter, Kira, as well as parents, a brother and other relatives and friends.

Despite his illness, Cannon lived an active life. His mother said the monthly blood transfusions kept him from suffering in pain as badly as some other children with sickle cell disease, though in his online writings, Shakir describes having pain as an adult and also enduring not only regular transfusions but also nightly infusions to remove iron from his blood.


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