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Friends fondly remember Liara Tsai after her death

Authorities say the transgender Minneapolis DJ was murdered by an acquaintance on Saturday.

MINNEAPOLIS — News of Liara Tsai’s sudden and violent death has triggered waves of shock and grief among those who knew the music producer and club DJ.

Tsai, a 35-year-old transgender woman, had already gained popularity in the Twin Cities before leaving Iowa City six weeks ago. She saw it as a chance to take her music career to the next level and live in a city with a larger trans community.

“I was so excited and happy to see her move to the Twin Cities. It was something she had wanted to do for years, and her music was her life, her music was her soul,” said Olivia Anderson, a longtime friend of Tsai’s in Iowa.

“If you met Liara, it’s an experience that you will remember and carry with you for the rest of your life,” Anderson said. “She’s had a huge impact on my life and who I am.”

Anderson shared a series of photographs of the smiling, red-haired woman, who was also a combat veteran, spoken word artist and crisis counselor.

A 32-year-old Iowa woman and former acquaintance of Tsai has been charged with murdering her in her apartment in the Elliot Park neighborhood of south Minneapolis.

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The homicide first came to light when the suspect, Margot Lewis, crashed Tsai’s car into a guardrail on I-90 Saturday morning. This led to the discovery of Tsai’s body in the back seat.

On Wednesday, the victim’s friends wanted to keep the spotlight on the woman they knew before her life abruptly ended.

“We had a beautiful relationship and he was someone I loved very deeply,” Mega Solga told KARE.

“She was the most fearless person I had ever met. She was the truest person I had ever met. She knew exactly who she was, especially as a trans woman. She had no fear to show the world who she was.”

April Lee knew Tsai for years in Iowa and was in Minneapolis with friends Wednesday, sharing memories of their lost loved one.

“She had an incredibly powerful energy that cannot be communicated, that everyone who came into contact with her could feel,” Lee said.

“She was a very spiritual person with a lot of spiritual energy. No one has ever seen anyone like her before. It may sound cliché, but it’s true.”

Dana Kazuko is also a DJ from Minneapolis who was inspired and helped by Liara Tsai.

“Liara was just this amazing artist who would come to my shows and listen to my mixes and give me feedback,” Kazuko said.

“There was no jealousy. No ‘This is yours and this is mine’ kind of thing. She was always very uplifting.”

She was supposed to join Liara for a performance on Sunday night, but it never happened.

“Liara was also deeply curious about everyone. She was herself. She had her beliefs, but she wanted to know what yours were. And then she would engage and talk about it,” Kazuko said.

“The way she presented herself was without a mask, without trying to be who you wanted her to be. She would always be herself.”

Liara had just been booked for a big show in Brooklyn, New York, which would have been her biggest concert ever.

“She was so excited about it. She was so excited about it,” Anderson said. “She had been working so hard on her music for so long, and she was finally starting to get the appeal she was looking for and the community she was looking for for so long.”

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