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Lu Gan, a member of the class of 2013, died July 30 after a long illness.

While at Penn, Gan, whom friends called Lucy, danced in Penn Latin and Ballroom Dance and studied English literature and Japanese. Born in the Ganshu Province of China, Gan lived in Beijing and was a member of the Chinese Student Association and the Wharton China Association.

College and Wharton sophomore Yucheng Xu met Gan on the first day of New Student Orientation last year. In an e-mail from China, Xu described Gan as “polite, nice, outgoing and very elegant.”

Engineering and Wharton sophomore Jason Gui became acquainted with Gan “online months before coming to Penn, because she was one of only 8 students admitted to Penn directly from China.”

He wrote in an e-mail that “she was a really sweet girl who was always smiling. Every time I think of her I recall her smile, a smile so sweet that it really brightens up your day. She is always smiling, a cheerful girl who brought joy to the people around her.”

According to friends, Gan became sick in mid-March and was soon hospitalized. Gui wrote that Gan’s parents flew from China to Philadelphia and “stayed by her bedside for the entire four months she remained hospitalized.”

Gui added, “We heard from her father that she did not cry once in front of her parents, not even once over the four months she battled the disease. She always displayed courage, strength and determination that truly inspired us.”

Xu said friends still do not know the exact cause of Gan’s death, calling the news “very unexpected” because friends believed Gan’s condition was improving.

The Clarence Johnson Jr. Funeral Home in Yeadon, Pa., where Gan’s memorial service was held, was also not able to release a cause of death.

Gui, who attended the funeral, wrote in an e-mail that “her parents are terribly heartbroken at the loss, as we all are. She has been cremated and will be taken back to China for burial.”

Xu explained that many of Gan’s friends live in China and were therefore unable to attend the funeral, but the Wharton China Association will try to plan a memorial service when members return to campus. Gregory College House will be hosting a memorial in the fall.

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