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Broadway actor who played Simba in 'The Lion King' dies at 47

Clifton Oliver died early Wednesday, according to his sister.
Clifton Oliver
Clifton Oliver at an art opening in New York City in 2006.Patrick McMullan via Getty Images file

Broadway actor Clifton Oliver, best known for playing Simba in "The Lion King," has died at 47.

He died early Wednesday, according to Roxy Hall, his sister.

"His partner Richard, was singing to him the song Psalm 23 as he took his last breath this morning at 3:20 AM," Hall wrote on Facebook. "He had a gorgeous smile on his beautiful face!! He went twirling into the afterlife ready to make his grand appearance as the star of his homecoming celebration!"

The circumstances around Oliver's death aren't clear. He spent that last six weeks of his life in the hospital and in hospice care, Hall wrote.

The Broadway show commemorated Oliver on Instagram.

"Today, our Pride joins in remembering the legacy of the late Clifton Oliver, who shared his talents and light with audiences across Broadway, Las Vegas, and our North American tour from 2000-2011," the post read.

In honor of Oliver's legacy, the lights will be dimmed at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York City at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Oliver, who was born in 1975, was from Jacksonville, Florida, according to He moved to New York City in 2010 to pursue his Broadway career.

He is best known for his roles in "The Lion King" and "In the Heights," in which he played the character Benny alongside Jordin Sparks, according to Playbill.