11-year-old girl dies suddenly in her sleep

MOBILE, Ala. — An Alabama family is mourning the loss of an 11-year-old girl who died unexpectedly just a few days ago, according to WALA.

Janiyah Taylor passed away Monday morning in her sleep. Family and friends remember her as a sweet little girl who had a passion for dance.

The loss didn’t just affect Janiyah’s family, it also took a toll on her dance mates. Their dance instructor said they’re having a hard time understanding it all.

Her goal as the instructor is to be strong for her them and honor Janiyah in whatever way she can.

Janiyah is remembered as a leader, a dancer, a learner and a friend.

“She was a vibrant young lady. Very, very vibrant,” said Rachael Reese, dance instructor and owner of Elevation Dance Company. “A joy to be around. She was determined. She just always wanted to be better and do better.”

Janiyah passed away Monday morning in her sleep, leaving family and friends heartbroken and confused.

“It was numbing. It was shocking. It came out of nowhere. Also, it didn’t only break my heart but it hit very close to home,” Reese said.

Janiyah spent eight months at Elevation Dance Company where she was learning ballet, jazz and hip-hop dance. Reese says her time there left an imprint that will never fade away.

“This sweet girl had an impact on her whole community. She left a mark here a very good mark,” she said.

The most difficult part of it all for Reese was telling Janiyah’s fellow dancers that she is gone.

“They cried a lot. They’re still crying, according to their parents. They’re still trying to understand why, why did she have to go like that and they couldn’t tell her bad. They’re still trying to understand. They’re still young,” said Reese.

There’s a pair of ballet slippers that’ll never be worn again, but Reese says with her determination, she knows Janiyah is still dancing.

“She’s dancing in heaven more than she ever could on earth,” she added.