Pregnant Former Olympian Dies: Meskerem Legesse Collapses After Possible Heart Complications, But Doctors Save Her Baby

Meskerem Legesse
Pregnant former Olympian Meskerem Legesse passed away after collapsing at a restaurant in Connecticut. Doctors were able to save her unborn child. MySpace

Meskerem Legesse, former Olympian from Ethiopia, collapsed at a restaurant in Connecticut and subsequently passed away on Wednesday, just three weeks before she was due to give birth. Doctors were able to save her baby, the Associated Press reported.

Although no official cause of death has been established, Legesse's friend Fatima Sene reported that she did suffer from heart complications in the past. Legesse, who had been living in Westport, Conn., stopped at a Chinese restaurant in Hamden to pick up a take-out order with her two-year-old son. Shortly after entering the building, security cameras show her suddenly collapsing to the floor.

"It is very sad. She was a very good person. She would do anything for anybody. And she loved that little boy she left behind." a tearful Sene told reporters.

"She always tried to eat healthy and she always makes sure her son eats good. I just don't know what to say."

Hamden emergency personnel performed CPR before transporting Legesse to the nearby Yale-New Haven Hospital where doctors were able to save her unborn child. Both the infant and her two-year-old son are currently with their father.

"She was quite beloved in the running community," Bill Staab, president of the New York City-based West Side Runners club, told The Hartford Courant.

"She was charming, a very attractive woman and a good mother. It's a tremendous loss to the Ethiopian running community in the New York area."

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