Cancer has claimed the life of yet another young actor, this time sending fans of popular sitcoms "Moesha" and "The Parkers" from the 1990s into the mourning.
Yvette Wilson, who played Andell Wilkerson through more than 200 episodes of both shows, died June 14 after a lengthy but hard-fought battle with cervical cancer. She was 48.
The cancer obviously created a number of other health issues Wilson had to deal with in recent years, including the need for a kidney transplant. A friend, Jeffrey Pittle, created a fundraising effort called the Yvette Wilson Cancer Sucks Fund, which raised just over $14,000 of its $50,000 goal. The campaign's goal switched from helping her achieve the surgery, to instead helping bring her estate current and paying for funeral costs.
"It is with a heavy heart that I can verify that Yvette passed away last evening after a lengthy and hard battle," Pittle wrote on the website. "She was a fighter to the end, and her talent, humor and amazing friendship will be sorely missed. She will live on through her awesome body of work."
Wilson was born March 6, 1964 in Los Angeles, and majored in communications from San Jose State University. On a bet with a friend, she entered comedy, and would become a popular stand-up comic, work that got her into her first show, the short-lived "Thea" on ABC that also starred someone she would come to work with a lot in the future -- Brandy Norwood.
Norwood, who would later become a Grammy-winning singer, would cast Wilson in "Moesha," which would run from 1996 to 2001 on UPN. There Wilson played an older friend of Norwood's Moesha, who ran a neighborhood hangout called The Den.
Wilson would then move over to the spinoff "The Parkers," which starred Mo'Nique and Countess Vaughn. That show would last five seasons through 2004 on UPN, not long before that network shut down and made way for The CW.
Cervical cancer is the second most common and the fifth deadliest cancer in women, according to the World Health Organization. While it is more common in developing countries, the United States reported 11,000 new cases of cervical cancer in 2008, with more than 3,800 deaths recorded because of the affliction.
Prevention is very important, with women encouraged to get pap smears every three to five years. Such screenings could reduce the rate cervical cancer by 80 percent, according to some studies. Women should start getting the screenings as early as 21, but can likely stop when they hit their 60s.
No family information or survivors for Wilson were released.
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