Iris Zhu ’21 died from a severe illness last weekend near her home in Maryland.

September 9, 2018

Iris Zhu ’21 Dies While Receiving Treatment for Severe Illness

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Iris Zhu ’21 died last weekend near her home in Maryland “while receiving treatment for a severe illness,” according to a statement issued by Vice President Ryan Lombardi.

Zhu was a student in the School of Hotel Administration. According to her LinkedIn page, she was born in Shanghai, China and raised in Potomac, Maryland.

“My rich cultural background not only made me an interesting person to talk to but also a thoughtful partner to work with,” she wrote on LinkedIn. “Grown in an adventurous family in which the stock market investments made all the miracles happen, I am innately intrigued by the business world.”

“She left a lasting impression on those she met through her classes and participation in student groups here at Cornell,” Lombardi wrote in his statement. “On behalf of the Cornell community, my deepest condolences go out to Iris’ family and friends.”

Zhu’s friend Stella Shi ’21 told The Sun that Zhu originally thought she just had back problems, but was diagnosed with lymphoma, a type of cancer, when she went home for spring break last semester. Shi said that Zhu did not return to Cornell after spring break but was hopeful that she would recover and come back.

“I miss just spending time with her, just normal things like going to eat lunch together, waiting for each other after school, going to get bubble tea and stuff like that,” she said.

Kate Wang ’21, another one of Zhu’s friends, told The Sun that Zhu was a talented violinist who “always tried to take care of everyone.”

“There’s not a single thing I don’t miss about her,” Wang said. “I think Iris is like the most gracious, generous … and kindest person.”

Cornell Student Assembly also extended its condolences in a statement on its Facebook page.

“Iris was known for her confidence, warmth, and cheerful attitude, and positively impacted all those around her,” the statement reads.

A community support meeting will be held on Tuesday in Room 391, Statler Hall at 4:30 p.m.