Dancer Órla Baxendale Dead at 25 After Eating Mislabeled Cookie

New York dancer Órla Baxendale died suddenly at age 25 after eating a mislabeled cookie that contained peanuts, resulting in anaphylactic shock, according to her lawyer.

By Lindsay Weinberg Jan 25, 2024 10:27 PMTags
Watch: Dancer Orla Baxendale Dead at 25 After Eating Mislabeled Cookie

A mislabeled holiday dessert has led to the death of a talented young dancer.

New York performer Órla Baxendale died Jan. 11 due to anaphylactic shock resulting from a "severe" allergic reaction, her lawyer shared in a statement Jan. 24. She was 25.

Baxendale's passing was caused by "an unfortunate incident" after she ate a cookie that contained undisclosed peanuts, according to her legal team, which called the mislabel a "tragic oversight."

Following her death, supermarket chain Stew Leonard's recalled about 500 packages of the Vanilla Florentine Cookie that were sold from Nov. 6 to Dec. 31 at stores in Danbury and Newington, Conn., per the Associated Press.

The dancer's lawyer said the medical emergency was caused by "gross negligence and reckless conduct," because the manufacturer or seller allegedly "failed to properly identify the contents of the cookie on the packaging." 

Sharing his devastation over the incident, Stew Leonard's CEO Stew Leonard Jr. said the supplier changed the recipe from soy nuts to peanuts without notifying them. However, the manufacturer Cookies United said it had informed Stew Leonard's of the ingredient change several months prior.

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"Unfortunately, considering the tragedy of these circumstances, we need to point out that Stew Leonard's was notified by Cookies United in July of 2023 that this product now contains peanuts and all products shipped to them have been labeled accordingly," the maker said in a Jan. 23 press release. "This product is sold under the Stew Leonard's brand and repackaged at their facilities. The incorrect label was created by, and applied to, their product by Stew Leonard's."

E! News has reached out to Cookies United and Stew Leonard's for additional comment but hasn't heard back.


In the wake of the tragedy, Baxendale's lawyer extended condolences to her family.

"They have been overwhelmed and comforted by the outpouring of love, support, and tributes from around the world," the statement read. "Órla's vibrant spirit and her relentless pursuit of excellence in her art have left an indelible mark on all who knew her."

Her attorney added, "Her sudden loss is not only a personal tragedy for her family and friends but also a significant loss to the artistic community."


Baxendale was born in East Lancashire in the U.K. and moved to New York to become a professional dancer, actor and model. She landed representation at Go 2 Talent Agency, which paid tribute to the young star on Instagram Jan. 15.

"We will always cherish her effortless talents, her beaming spirit, and her exceptionally kind heart," their message read. "You will never be forgotten, rest in peace dear Orla."


In September, Baxendale hit the stage on her first tour with Momix, a dance illusionist troupe.

She also landed gigs with the Steps on Broadway team—which remembered her as a "beautiful dancer" and "avid dreamer" in an Instagram tribute—as well as The Ride NYC, an experiential theater company that performs on the streets of New York.

Calling her "a cherished member of our team and a wonderfully talented dancer," The Ride wrote on Instagram, "As we mourn her loss, let us also celebrate the joy she brought to our lives."

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