Students, friends hold vigil for Lillian Chason


The vigil, which was held at the UNC Center for Dramatic Art, was closed to the media. However, those who attended say it was very emotional.

UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp released the following statement Thursday regarding Chason's death:

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Lillian's parents, the Chason family and their friends. We are so sorry for their loss. Lillian was a special person, and her Carolina family will miss her."

Jonathan Beckles, a freshman at UNC, told ABC11 Eyewitness News it's hard to accept the fact that Chason became so sick with the H1N1 virus that she's no longer here.

"All these people survived, and she's that one person in this one play that got it and got pneumonia and passed and so randomly," Beckles said. "It's just I don't know. It doesn't make sense."

He was one of about 20 people who showed up to remember Chason. Those who knew her say her smile and energy were contagious.

"We were just letting students talk about the memories of Lillian," said Joseph Megel, play director. "Something like this is hard to understand."

Megel is directing the play "A New Dress for Mona." It's a story about a woman executed in Iran because of her beliefs. Chason was cast to play the lead role.

"She just had this incredible connection to Mona," Beckles said.

And it seems thousands have developed a connection with Lillian as seen in the prayers on her Facebook page.

"She was just taken away, and it was weird to have that kind of connection to somebody that I've rally only known for about two weeks," Beckles said.

"We all sort of fell in love with her," Megel said.

That's why when the play begins in January; Chason will have a special role.

"We're doing this for both Mona, this young woman who died in Iran, and now we're doing it for Lillian as well," Megel said.

A large memorial service will likely happen in the next few weeks. Details of the event are still being determined.

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