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Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson broke down in tears on Tuesday as she hosted a charity event in her native Chicago in honor of her late nephew, the day he would have celebrated his 11th birthday.

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Julian King was shot dead by his estranged stepfather William Balfour in 2008 in a horrific triple murder, in which Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, and brother, Jason Hudson, were also killed at their home in the city.

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The "Dreamgirls" star and her sister, Julia, the mother of the tragic seven year old, set up the Julian King Foundation after his death, and on Tuesday they hosted the second annual Hatch Day event, named after a phrase King thought up to celebrate happy occasions.

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During the event at the Kroc Community Center, the pair handed out school supplies to low-income students in Chicago, and Hudson teared up as she mingled with the youngsters on what Mayor Rahm Emanuel proclaimed to be Julian King Hatch Day.

During an interview with, she says, "To be able to turn such a negative around and make it a positive thing ... seeing this is like 'wow'. What's the point of being who you are if you can't make a difference? If you can't help someone else?"

Hudson also took to her Twitter page to mark the special day, writing, "Happy 11th birthday to my late nephew Julian King! We will celebrate u (sic) always! Happy 'Hatch Day' to u all!"

The Julian King Foundation was set up to help underprivileged kids in the Chicago area.