Thomas Tafero, a budding playwright and actor, died Monday of colon cancer at his home in Plainview. He was 34.
"He had been battling the cancer for more than two years but continued to write," said Robbie Woliver of Melville, a friend and former Tafero editor at the Long Island Press.
His two stage plays are "Liars and Lovers" in 2011 and "The Tattered King" in 2012.
After the first play, a review from the online website of REVIEWniverse, praised him as "a young Edward Albee," the American playwright who crafted, among other plays, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
Tafero's first play was performed at the Arena Players Theatre in Farmingdale, and the second at the Cabrini Theatre in Washington Heights for the Thespis Festival.
Steve Parks, writing for Newsday, called "Liars" "an absorbing new play" and praised Tafero's lead role in an earlier play at the Farmingdale theater, calling the dialogue "authentic college contemporary."
A 1997 graduate of Plainview's JFK High School, Thomas went on to earn a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Binghamton University in 2001.
"He was always grateful for all his friends, his work and family and his life. I just wish he could have had more of the last," said his fiancee, Cailin Kless of Plainview.
Tafero worked briefly for Newsday, compiling its "What's Happening" calendar for the Explorer pages until that section ended.
In 2003 and 2004, he worked in the newsroom of the Long Island Press. "He was pretty good. I was his editor there," Woliver said.
Survivors include his mother, Barbara Lynch, of Plainview; his father, Arthur H. Tafero, of Xiamen, China; a sister, Elise Tafero, of Plainview; and his stepfather, Barry Levine, also of Plainview.
A Mass of Christian burial was planned at 9:30 a.m. at St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church in Plainview.
CORRECTION : Because of incomplete information provided by family members, a previous version of this story omitted Thomas Tafero's father, Arthur H. Tafero, as a survivor.