Quindon Tarver, the Child Singer From 'Romeo + Juliet,' Dead at 38

Quindon Tarver
Romeo + Juliet, 20th Century Fox

'Romeo + Juliet' director Baz Luhrmann paid tribute to the child star on Instagram.

Quindon Tarver has died at age 38. The former child star, best known for his performance in the 1996 film Romeo + Juliet, was killed in a car accident, his uncle, Kevin Tarver, confirmed.

Tarver's fatal crash happened on Thursday, April 1, on the President George Bush Turnpike in Dallas, Texas, his uncle told The Dallas Morning News.

"He had been through so much, but his focus was on his music," he said of his nephew. "He was getting ready to make his comeback. He had been in the studio working on a project that was supposed to be released this year."

Tarver, a native Texan, began performing in church choirs when he was four, he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in a 2017 interview. He went on to appear in Madonna's "Like a Prayer" music video, before signing with Virgin Records at age 12.

In Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, Tarver performed covers of Prince’s "When Doves Cry" and Rozalla’s "Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)," both of which appeared on the film's soundtrack.

"Me? A country boy from Dallas, Texas? To be on a movie screen where my friends could go and see it? That blew my mind," he said during the 2017 interview. "That was amazing."

In a tribute following Tarver's death, Luhrmann called him "a beautiful soul."

Also in 1996, Tarver released his self-titled debut album. He went on to tour with both Brandy and Monica, and later appeared on seasons 2 and 7 of American Idol.

In his 2017 interview, Tarver revealed that he was currently working in insurance, adding that his singing career slowed after he was allegedly the victim of abuse and "spiraled completely" with drinking and drugs. 

Tarver turned things around in 2016 when he was invited to perform at a tribute to Prince following his death. 

"When I got on the stage and they announced my name, it was like a coming to Jesus moment," he said. "The applause and the cheers of the people, it was like, 'Wow, this is what I want to do. These people remember me! Twenty years later, these people remember me.'"

After his performance, he spent a month in rehab, an experience he called "a relief." 

"I walked out of [rehab] a free man and I have not looked back," he said. "I'm back into my music and I think my passion is stronger than ever."

He released a single, "Stand Our Ground," last year.

"I want to let people know that you are free, and that the only person that is holding you from your freedom is yourself," he said. "... I didn't understand why I went through what I went through. But now I realize the reason I went through it was so that I could be that beacon of hope to other people that have gone through those types of things. I was used to helping people, let them know that they can overcome. Because, if I can do it, so can you."