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Students remember Zhizhang He

GRS student died Sunday of unknown causes

Zhizhang He, 22, a graduate student who friends say was studious, athletic, and devoted to his family, died on Sunday, December 11.

He was studying math and finance in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and lived in Allston with two other Boston University students. The roommates say that they went to bed late Saturday night and left early the next morning to study. When they returned home on Sunday evening, they found He in bed and called 911.

“We spent a lot of time together. I think I’m the closest one in Boston to him,” says Rui Li (ENG’07), one of He’s roommates. “Everything is so sudden.”

He was from Foshan, China, and had no family in the United States, says Young Luo (CAS’06), a friend who has been in contact with He’s family. The International Students and Scholars Office and the Office of the Dean of Students are working to help He’s parents obtain visas and passports to enter the United States.

Li and He both attended Sun Yat-Sen University in China, and met last spring when both learned they would be starting graduate programs at BU. They moved into the Allston apartment with a third roommate in August.

He was a track and field athlete in high school, Li says, and played pickup basketball with classmates at BU. He spent a lot of time talking to his girlfriend, a law student in London, and to his relatives. He and his roommates would regularly invite friends over for dinner on weekends. “We cooked together — usually he was the chef and made a lot of food,” Li says. “Saturday we had four people [over], and everything was as usual.”

Both Li and the other roommate have since moved out of the apartment. “They don’t feel comfortable there,” says Luo. “There are too many memories.”