Celebrity Serena Liu Chen dies, aged 44: The life and death of Taiwan’s ballroom dance queen

Serena Liu, better known as Liu Chen, died on March 22, 2020, at the age of 44.
Facebook/Serena Liu

Taiwanese celebrity dancer Serena Liu, better known as Liu Chen, has died at the age of 44.

Word of Liu’s death began circulating on Sunday (Mar 22), but was only confirmed on Monday at a press conference held by family friend and veteran TV host Jacky Wu.

Liu, who leaves behind her husband and a 4-year-old daughter, had fallen into a coma after undergoing a heart valve repair operation in Taipei on February 7.

Her 48-year-old singer husband, Shin Lung, last commented on the dance teacher’s illness on March 10, when he posted an emotional appeal on Facebook to ask for prayers over his wife’s health.

According to Wu, who runs the agency that manages Shin, Liu’s body will soon be cremated and a memorial service will be announced at a later date.

Describing the family’s decision to take Liu off life support, Wu said: “From a medical point of view, there was really no chance (for Liu) left.”

“(Liu Chen’s) parents were unwilling to let their daughter continue with such suffering. Everyone was very torn and discussed for a very long time,” he said.

Liu died at around 10pm on Sunday, Wu added.

Wu asked the media to give Shin some space, adding that the singer had expressed some “very worrying” thoughts. “As good friends, we will continue to stay by his side,” he said.

Here’s what we know about the life of Taiwan’s most famous ballroom dancer, Liu Chen.


Trained in classical ballet, Liu only picked up ballroom dancing because she walked into the wrong class when she was a student at National Chengchi University in Taipei.

During an interview broadcast by Taiwan’s CTI, Liu’s first ballroom dance teacher said Liu was 19 years old when she first walked into his studio. She had mistakenly walked into the room thinking it was a ballet class, only to be told it was for ballroom dancing.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by 🌺Serena Liu劉真💃 (@serenachenliu) on


As a fresh graduate, Liu’s first job was not in dance but banking. Liu once told Taiwan TV host Mickey Huang that her feet would dance the cha-cha-cha when she used the computer at work.

She later decided to pursue dance full-time despite the objection of her parents. She told Huang: “If I didn’t try it out, I knew I would regret it when I grew old. So I said (to my mother): ‘Please give me one chance. Even if I don’t succeed, at least I tried.'”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by 🌺Serena Liu劉真💃 (@serenachenliu) on

caption
Serena Liu with her mother.
source

Liu went on to teach dance, and was lauded by her own dance teacher for her ability to lead students.

She also took part and according to SETN, won awards in various competitions such as the BDFI International in 2000 and the American Star Ball in 2002.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by 🌺Serena Liu劉真💃 (@serenachenliu) on


Liu later became a frequent face on some of Taiwan’s most popular variety TV programmes, including Kangsi Coming and Pauline Lan’s Queen. Liu quickly gained popularity, earning praise not just for her talent and good looks, but also for her pleasant attitude, elegance and gentle personality.

According to The Straits Times (ST), Liu shot to fame in 2004, after dancing with Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau on Taiwan programme Variety Big Brother.

Soon, she became known as the “ballroom dance queen” of Taiwan and was publicly referred to as “Teacher Liu Chen”.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by 🌺Serena Liu劉真💃 (@serenachenliu) on

caption
Liu with Queen host Pauline Lan.
source

After a quiet two-year courtship, Liu and Shin got married in Hawaii in 2014. According to TVBS News, the couple was known for their unabashed love for each other, and would always hold hands when they went out together.

Shin was also known for his adoration of Liu. On one occasion, he revealed that he wondered how he had the fortune of marrying someone like Liu. Shin loved Liu so much that he once pretended to be on a work trip just so he could secretly fly to France to buy a designer bag that she had her eye on.

The couple, who first met on a July 22 years ago, also famously celebrated their union on the 22nd of every month.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by 🌺Serena Liu劉真💃 (@serenachenliu) on

caption
Liu and her husband, Shin Lung, in a wedding photo.
source

In 2016, at the age of 40, she gave birth to a girl named Ni Ni.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by 🌺Serena Liu劉真💃 (@serenachenliu) on

caption
The couple announced the birth of their child in 2016.
source

Aside from dance, Liu was also known for having a large collection of designer high-heel shoes. The fashion lover often showcased some of her most prized possessions on fashion-themed TV shows.

She loved shoes so much that she even had dinner with Manolo Blahnik CEO Kristina Blahnik, who personally penned a note addressed to her.

About a year before she died, Liu started her own programme on YouTube called BeautyTalk, which currently has around 11,500 subscribers and amassed over 1 million views.

caption
Serena Liu showcasing a custom-made pair of heels by Rene Caovilla in her collection.
source
YouTube/BeautyTalk

In a report, ST said that Liu discovered she had a heart condition only by chance.

Citing an interview with Shin conducted by Chinese language news site Apple Daily, ST reported that Liu had taken her 4-year-old daughter to the doctor after the child caught a cold. It was during the consultation that the girl’s doctor listened to Liu’s heartbeat via a stethoscope and discovered a heart murmur.

According to ST, the doctor was trying to convince and calm Ni Ni, who had refused to let the doctor place the stethoscope on her own chest.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by 🌺Serena Liu劉真💃 (@serenachenliu) on

Close to three weeks after Liu’s operation, Shin finally broke his silence on Facebook, writing that he was “willing to exchange my life for Liu Chen’s”.

“Our daughter is only four years old. She can do without her dad, but she can’t do without her mother,” the singer wrote.


After 45 days in hospital, Liu died on March 22, 2020, before she could get a heart transplant.

Before her death, Taipei mayor and former doctor Ko Wen-je also visited Liu in hospital and helped to explain the seriousness of her condition to her family, Jacky Wu revealed at the press conference on Monday.

Shortly after the announcement, friends and celebrities who worked with Liu when she was alive expressed their disbelief online.

Entertainment portal Udn.com released a recording of talkshow host Dee Hsu’s emotional response to news of Liu’s death.

“I’m really sad now,” Hsu said in between sobs. “I hope she is in heaven with many beautiful shoes, and she can continue dancing,” she added.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by 🌺Serena Liu劉真💃 (@serenachenliu) on

caption
Liu and Ni Ni in a photo she posted to celebrate the girl’s birthday.
source

Read also: