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Hundreds attend memorial to honor murdered UNC professor

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UNC Research Professor Feng Liu (Image: WTVD-TV)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Saturday afternoon, the Chapel Hill community gathered to honor the life of UNC Chapel Hill professor and cancer researcher Feng Liu.

WTVD-TV reported that he was robbed and killed not far from campus a week and a half ago. Two men are facing first-degree murder charges in his death.

Hundreds of people poured into UNC Chapel Hill’s Memorial Hall to pay tribute to Feng Liu.

During Saturday’s memorial, family and friends remembered him as a man who put great stock in science and humanity. Some told the story of how he came to the rescue of a high school girl being robbed a few years ago; they said the professor tackled the would-be robber.

UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt also spoke during the service. She praised Feng Liu’s accomplishments and his passion.

She said he was a brilliant scientist devoted to his work, and that he will leave a marvelous legacy in the world of cancer research.

People who knew him well said he was smart, funny, humble, and a man who would come to the aid of others, like he did for that high school student.

“In some respects he put himself in a little bit in jeopardy in the moment,” said Bob Blouin, Dean of the UNC School of Pharmacy. “But he did what he thought was the right thing and a very compassionate thing. But also it was instinctive for him.”

Blouin said Feng Liu took great joy in mentoring students.

The School of Pharmacy has set up a student fund in Feng Liu’s honor.

Before he was killed, Feng Liu was preparing to become a grandfather. His only child, a daughter who graduated from UNC Chapel Hill, is expected to give birth in about two months.