Phoebe Wang’s cause of death determined

Phoebe Wang’s cause of death determined

The death of MacGregor resident Phoebe Wang ’17 on Sept. 21 has been ruled a suicide, according to an email from Terrel Harris, a spokesman for the Massachusetts chief medical examiner’s office. The cause of death was listed as “asphyxia due to displacement of oxygen.”

“Phoebe was a very active member of MacGregor house and played flute in the MIT Symphony Orchestra,” Reif wrote in a Sept. 23 email to the MIT Community, which did not specify the cause of death.

Wang, who hailed from Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania, had worked at MIT’s Lewis Music Library and conducted research for the MIT Energy Initiative, according to her Facebook profile.

An obituary published by MIT News said that Wang was known for her sense of humor, her curiosity, and her desire to explore.

Members of the MIT community can access MIT student support resources and Mental Health Services at, or via phone at 617-253-2916 during the day and at 617-253-4481 during nights and weekends.

—William Navarre

anonymous about 9 years ago

I don't know if it's the best choice to publish more information about Phoebe's death on the front page of the Tech at this time. We don't need to bring up more thoughts of death and loss right now. I would've loved to hear more about Phoebe's life and who she was, but I don't need to know more about how she died, and I wish the Tech would consider that more going forward.

ogiealcasi about 9 years ago

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Anonymous about 9 years ago

I strongly disagree. The Tech has a duty to report the news without sugarcoating it.

Anonymous about 9 years ago

I agree with number 3. Sugarcoating is a light from of censorship. Students at MIT need to be informed about the realities of campus suicide. MIT is a pressure cooker environment. The students you least expect have thought or may be thinking about harming themselves. They need to seek out help of family and friends or counseling deans and take measures to deal with the situation. If it is too unbearable, then drop out or transfer to another college. No school is worth taking your own life.

Freedom (from Frauds) about 9 years ago

3,4-- You are correct.

However, if you expect a newspaper to report news without sugarcoating you are extremely naive. Everything you read in a newspaper nowadays is wrong and sugarcoated and designed to hurt you. If you want the low-down on, say, depression, you would do better reading a celebrity gossip magazine.

Anonymous about 9 years ago

It is acceptable to report that something is a suicide, but I don't see the reason to report the exact method they used to take their own life as the Tech often includes in these types of articles. I appreciate that journalism is about reporting the who/when/what/where/why's of events, but real newspapers often don't report how they took their own life. It doesn't add much to the understanding of what happened, and it encourages copycats.