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University of Utah

'She was at a marvelous point in her life': U. community mourns death of assistant professor

By Carter Williams, | Posted - Nov. 15, 2018 at 7:01 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah community is mourning the death of a staff member who died from complications related to childbirth.

Xiaoqian “Tracy” Yu, an assistant professor of marketing at the David Eccles School of Business died Tuesday night at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, the university announced on Wednesday.

Officials said Yu was surrounded by family who were there to celebrate “the joyful occasion of her child’s birth.” She is survived by her husband, Charles, newborn son, Andrew, as well as her parents, the university added.

A GoFundMe page* was set up by University of Southern California Marketing Ph.D students to raise funds for her family. Yu had graduated from that program before taking a job at the University of Utah in 2017, U. officials said.

More than $32,000 had been raised as of Thursday evening. The page noted that Yu’s family had traveled from China two weeks ago to be there for the birth and that Andrew is healthy after being born.

“She was such a sweet, kind, and gentle soul. I am extremely sad that she's gone,” wrote a person who said they were classmates for four years at USC. “Xiaoqian will be greatly missed and remembered by me and many others.”

U. officials also mourned her death.

“Tracy was an incredibly upbeat person with a tremendous passion for her work and family and a bright future in academia,” said Steve Carson, chair of the university’s department of marketing, in a statement. “She was at a marvelous point in her life with a new husband, job, and child. We will all miss her very much.”

Death from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth in the U.S. is fairly rare. About 700 women die from childbirth complications each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are nearly 4 million childbirths in the U.S. each year, according to Statista.

NPR reported in May that the rate of women who came close to dying nearly tripled from 49.5 cases per 10,000 births in 1993 to 144 cases per 10,000 births in 2014, as well.

Editor's note: This story initially said that 50,000 women die from childbirth complications each year, but per the CDC, it is actually 700 each year. That has been corrected.

* does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

Carter Williams

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