Quentin Oliver Lee, best known for his performance in Heather Christian's acclaimed, award-winning Off-Broadway production of Oratorio for Living Things earlier this year, passed away yesterday after a battle with stage 4 colon cancer. He was 34. "Quentin passed in the wee hours of the morning," Lee's wife Angie wrote on Instagram. "It was the most beautiful moment of my life. I saw his last breaths, held his hand tight, and felt his heartbeat slowly drift away. He had a smile on his face and was surrounded by those he loves. It was peaceful and perfect." She shared photos of them with their daughter Samantha and described him as an "incredible man, husband, father, son, brother, friend, singer, actor, and disciple of Christ with great faith in his Father in Heaven." During her tribute to her late husband, she expressed gratitude for how he contributed to the lives of many "people and communities."
"Samantha and I are supported and lifted by our families and our own faith. Please understand if I don't respond, but trust that your messages and love have been read and felt," she concluded. Beginning in December 2017, Lee debuted in the title role in the national tour of The Phantom of the Opera. In March, he appeared in the Off-Broadway production of Oratorio for Living Things after understudying in Prince of Broadway in 2017. Lee has also appeared in many opera productions, including a performance at Avery Fisher Hall in I Am Harvey Milk and the New York Lyric Opera in Carmen. On Dec. 2, The Phantom of the Opera's official Instagram account paid tribute to Lee, writing, "The Phantom family is saddened to hear of the passing of Quentin Oliver Lee. Quentin brilliantly lead our North American tour in 2018. Our hearts are with Quentin's family and friends."
Lee shared the news of his cancer diagnosis and an image of a hospital bracelet in June, calling it a "wild ride." Broadway community members began planning a benefit concert for Lee in September. Lee's friend, composer Brett Macias, shared an advertisement for the event and wrote that Lee "is a righteous dude and their family does not deserve this." In October, he re-shared the image on Instagram, saying it might be Lee's last performance. As a result of his diagnosis, his family created a GoFundMe page to help cover his medical expenses, "keep the lights on [and] keep food on the table." As of Dec. 3, the fund has raised more than $52,000 over its $50,000 goal.