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Cystic fibrosis claims F-M actor Matthew Thibedeau

Matthew Thibedeau takes direction as he warms up with the rest of the cast of the Little Country Theatre's production of "A Chorus Line" in 2006. Forum file photo

Fargo native and international performer Matthew Thibedeau died Wednesday morning after battling cystic fibrosis for several years.

"He was a gift from God," says Thibedeau's mother, Mary Schroeder, who spoke of his wisdom and "boundless energy."

According to a Facebook support site for Thibedeau, the "life expectancy for cystic fibrosis is typically 30 years, but Matthew made it beyond 35."

Thibedeau was an alumnus of Trollwood Performing Arts School and a star of high school theater in the area. He performed in New York and Los Angeles and appeared in television and film.

Thibedeau, a veteran of scores of musicals, was part of the original Canadian cast of "Sunset Boulevard" with icon Diahann Carroll. He toured in Brazil and Argentina, playing Danny Zuko in "Grease" and performed at Radio City Music Hall with Glenn Close.

After he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, he returned to Fargo-Moorhead where he was an early member of Music Theatre Fargo-Moorhead and taught at Trollwood, among other efforts.

Schroeder says her son loved performing. "He loved everything about it."

And she expressed pride at the way he faced his illness. "He lived independently up until the very end," she says.

A prayer service will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at Boulger Funeral Home in Fargo. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Hope Lutheran North Campus, Fargo.