Taiwan ballroom dancing queen Serena Liu Chen died at the age of 44 on Sunday night (March 22), Taiwanese media reported.
Liu suffered from poor heart function after undergoing heart valve repair surgery at Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb 7. She went for another operation later to remove a blood clot in her brain. She was also put on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, a life support machine, while waiting for a heart transplant. Taipei Veterans General Hospital confirmed on Monday morning that Liu died at 10.22pm on Sunday.
Veteran Taiwanese host Jacky Wu, 57, who runs the management company that Liu’s husband singer Shin Lung, 48, belongs to, held a press conference on Monday afternoon (March 23), on behalf of Shin.
Wu told reporters in a livestreamed press conference that Liu’s life support was pulled after it was determined that there was no hope left for her. “The medical team did everything they could do for her, but at the final stages, it appeared that there was nothing left to be done. But Shin Lung did not want to let her go."
He added: “We asked him what we could do, and asked if it would be better if we found someone else, another medical professional, who could assess her.”
He then revealed that Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je, a former doctor and a professor at National Taiwan University College of Medicine, whose speciality includes organ transplant, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), and artificial organs, came to assess Liu’s condition. Wu says: “He explained to Shin Lung that from a professional, medical standpoint, she had no chance.”
Wu recounted that after many discussions, including with Liu’s parents who did not want to see their daughter suffer, her family decided to pull her life support on Sunday night. Wu explained that Shin was too sad to face the press and that his only words for the media is that he is “heartbroken”, and that he hopes the public will remember his wife’s beautiful dancing.
Choking up at intervals, Wu also revealed that Shin had shared “worrying, ill thoughts” with his friends. He says: “As his senior, I gave him some stern words, and told him that he has to stop thinking these useless things and told him that Liu Chen would have wanted him to carry on and do what is in the best interests of their daughter.”
A memorial will be held for Liu while funeral arrangements are underway.
Shin told Apple Daily earlier this month that his wife found out about her heart condition by sheer chance.
Their daughter had caught a cold and Liu had taken her to the doctor. When her daughter refused to have a stethoscope placed on her chest, the doctor listened to Liu's chest as a demonstration to calm the child.
That was when Liu was told that she had a heart murmur and was advised to seek further treatment.
Liu had gained fame first as a dancer on Taiwan's variety programmes before going on to act in dramas, films and host television programmes.