[UPDATE: DEC 1]
A close friend of Queenzy Cheng spoke to the Malaysian media on Dec 1 on behalf of the family, clarifying that there wasn’t a hair dryer among her belongings the day she died. There was instead a curling iron.
She also denied rumours that Queenzy was overworked, saying the latter valued work-life balance.
Malaysian singer-actress Queenzy Cheng’s sudden death might have been caused by her usage of a hair dryer, according to a doctor interviewed by China Press yesterday (Nov 29).
Queenzy, 37, suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm while filming in Damansara, Selangor on Nov 28 and died some 40 minutes after feeling unwell.
Co-star Chai Zi revealed in an interview with the media that they had started filming around 8.30am and were about to begin filming a new episode at 10.30am when Queenzy felt ill.
“After blow-drying her hair, she suddenly sat down and said she felt dizzy, stating she had a headache and felt like vomiting,” Chai Zi told the media.
Queenzy’s heart rate shot up, and her hands, feet and lips turned blue.
She eventually died on set despite efforts by staff and paramedics to resuscitate her.
Speaking with China Press, Dr Eugene Chooi said that Queenzy likely had a hereditary illness as her boyfriend said she had always been healthy.
Dr Chooi explained that the symptoms Queenzy experienced — dizziness, pain and nausea — were a match to either an aneurysm or an arteriovenous malformation.
“After blow-drying her hair, she said she felt dizzy, had a headache and felt like vomiting. This is clearly a symptom of something affecting her head and nerves.”
He added that brain aneurysms usually remain undetected — but when the patient is tired and the heat used to blow-dry hair is relatively high, blood circulation may be increased, causing the aneurysm to burst.
When this happens, blood will accumulate within the brain, causing the heart to pump faster.
Dr Chooi also wondered if Queenzy had previously complained of headaches and if those around her had noticed this symptom.
“People around her might have said that she didn’t get enough sleep and water, or was busy at work, so she might have just taken painkillers and got over it.
“In situations like these, an aneurysm wouldn’t be discovered,” he said.
He also explained that aneurysms aren’t detected through conventional physical examinations, and requires a computed tomography angiography (CTA) to check.
A CTA puts a contrasting agent into the blood vessels to make vessels and tissue visible in a scan.
Dr Chooi also warned that aneurysms are hereditary and any siblings ought to pay close attention.
Dr Vincent Ng, the head and senior consultant for neurosurgery at the National Neuroscience Institute shared in an article on SingHealth in 2020 that about 120 people suffer from a ruptured aneurysm in Singapore every year.
“This causes them to switch from being well to becoming critically ill within minutes.
“About one third of patients die due to rapid and extensive brain injury caused by the bleeding and many survivors suffer from neurological health problems such as seizures, paralysis and cognitive impairment.”