Death of Lingzi Lu, 23, Reminds Us the 'Humanity That We All Share'

( [email protected] ) Apr 19, 2013 04:35 AM EDT
Lu Lingzi's family asked that those who knew their daughter to carry on her "positive spirit and joy", and those who has now heard about her will "keep a memory of her in their hearts" in a letter issued Thursday.
A photo of Lu Lingzi, the third fatality of the Boston Marathon bombings, is seen outside the Marsh Chapel before a memorial in Boston on April 17, 2013. Reuters

Lu Lingzi's family asked that those who knew their daughter to carry on her "positive spirit and joy", and those who has now heard about her will "keep a memory of her in their hearts" in a letter issued Thursday.

Monday's explosions near the finish line of Boston Marathon killed three people and injured 176. Lu is one of the three lives that were claimed by the terrorists' attack.

Lu, 23, was a Boston University graduate student from the Mathematics and statistics department. Her graduation year was 2015. She was the only child in the family that adhered to China’s one-child policy.

In China, she attended Northeast Yucasi School, considered one of the best high schools in Shenyang, one of the most developed and largest cities in China. She has won academic scholarships to her prestigious high school and college, Beijing Institute of Technology.

Prior to the Boston Marathon, Lu had just found out that she had passed a major exam for her studies, according to LA Times. She and her two friends headed over to watch the Boston Marathon. They choose spots near the finish line.

After the explosion, friends from her Chinese club began searching for her.

“Lingzi, where are you now?” her roommate wrote on the microblogging platform Weibo. “I know you get lost so easily. Don’t worry. We will find you.”

About six international students from China spent about seven hours Tuesday searching for her in Boston-area hospitals, the LA Times reported. They’ve learned that Zhou Denling, who had been with Lu at the finish line, had been hospitalized. But the students could find no official news of Lu.

Later that night, friends learned that Lu was one of the three people killed by the explosions.

Cheering on the runners was the latest cultural touchstone Lu had embraced since moving to Boston in August to enroll in BU’s actuarial science program, the study of risk, according to LA Times.

She had also become interested in Christianity, said a fellow Chinese student at Boston University, Lu Meixu, who is not related but is also from Shenyang, the New York Times reported.

"While she was here, she fell in love with Boston and its people. She loved her new friends and her professors at Boston University. She wanted to play a role in international business, specializing in applied mathematics," her parents stated in their letter published through Boston University Today.

Professors in BU’s mathematics and statistics department remember Lu as a smart, hard-working student in the top quarter of her class, according to LA Times.

“We lost a promising young scientist,” said Tasso Kaper, the department chairman, the LA Times reported.

Dozens of bouquets were placed outside Marsh Chapel on BU campus. Wu told LA Times reporter these flowers are a symbol of comfort for Lu’s parents as well as a symbol of solidarity with Chinese students who came to the U.S. in search of an education.

“For everyone, these are not easy things,” said Wu, 23, who had met Lu only at parties, and had mutual friends. “It’s painful for us, for all Chinese students.”

Boston University student Joy Liu lays flowers at a makeshift memorial for Lu Lingzi, who was killed in the bombings at the Boston Marathon, at the school's campus on April 17, 2013. Photo: NYT

Two theology students embrace following a vigil for Boston University student Lingzi Lu, who was killed in the Boston Marathon explosions, outside the school's Marsh Chapel, Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in Boston. The city continues to cope following Monday's explosions near the finish line of the marathon, which claimed three lives. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Lu’s father told ABC News in a telephone interview on Wednesday from his home in northeast China, “This is an extremely painful time for our family.”

Lu’s success in securing a spot at a university in the United States was a source of great pride for her parents and grandparents, her father told ABC News. They supported her by saving every extra bit it could go toward her education and experience in Boston, the Shenyang Evening News reported.

Lu Lingzi’s parents have departed for U.S. Friday evening to claim their daughter’s body.

“While her dream has not been realized, we want to encourage others who have Lingzi’s ambition and dreams, and want to make the world a better place, to continue moving forward," said her parents in the letter.

Many, from Chinese President Xi Jinping to netizens on Weibo, expressed their condolences to her family and sadness that a young, beautiful woman’s life ended in such tragedy.

Tuesday, Xi expressed his deep grief and extended his condolences to Lu’s family, according to Xinhua. He also instructed the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the Chinese Embassy in the United States and Chinese Consulate General in New York to make all efforts to handle the aftermath.

US President Obama also gave his tribute to Lu on Thursday's Interfaith Service held at Cathedral of Holy Cross in Boston.

“Our prayers are with Lu family of China, who sent their daughter Lingzi to BU so that she experiences all that this city has to offer. She was a 23-year-old daughter, far from home. And in the heartache of her family and friends on both sides of the great ocean, we’re reminded of the humanity that we all share.”

Many Chinese students, both in China and abroad, expressed in the internet their sorrow for Lu’s death.

“After reading the news, I felt a terrible chill,” blogger mexiao wrote. “I went to the same high school as Lu Lingzi, she’s my fellow alum and we are from the same town. I can’t believe the terrorist act hit so close to us. Terrorism isn’t only America’s enemy; it’s the enemy of all humanity.”

Lu’s parents thanked the support that they have received from the governments, and asked the media to respect their wish for privacy at this difficult time.

“We hope that everyone who knew Lingzi, and experienced the positive spirit and joy she had, will help carry on her spirit,” her parents said in conclusion of the letter. “We hope that everyone who has now heard about Lingzi will keep a memory of her in their hearts.”