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Meskerem Legesse Dies, Pregnant Former Olympian's Baby Saved in CT

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By Emma Koonse, Christian Post Reporter
July 18, 2013|8:45 am

Meskerem Legasse, the former Olympic runner from Ethiopia, collapsed and died while eight months pregnant on Monday.

The 26-year-old athlete was just three weeks from her due date when she died, but fortunately, the unborn child was saved, according to reports Thursday.

Legasse collapsed in a Connecticut Chinese restaurant with her two-year-old son Monday before she was given CPR and rushed to Yale-New Haven hospital, according to ESPN.

Due to paramedics giving Legasse CPR on the way to the hospital, doctors at the hospital were able to deliver and save the baby.

 Legasse's children are now with their father, Tom Laverty, according to The Hartford Courant.

"It is very sad," Fatima Sene, a friend of Legasse, told the Associated Press. "She was a very good person. She would do anything for anybody. And she loved that little boy she left behind."

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No cause of death has been revealed, but Sene said Legasse suffered from heart problems in the past.

Furthermore, a spokesperson for the state medical examiner's office said that an autopsy would not be performed due to Legasse's health problems.

Meanwhile, Legasse had been pregnant with a baby girl and had planned on marrying her children's father, Sene said while speaking to The Star Tribune.

"She was so excited," Legasse's friend added. "When she found out she was going to have a girl, she called me. She wanted to see her mother, so I want to get her home. I want to make sure she goes home."

Arrangements have been made for Legasse's body to be transported to Ethiopia for burial.

Meanwhile, Legasse had ran the 1,500-meter race at the 2004 Athens Olympics where she finished 12th in the first-round heat.

Following the Olympics, Legasse became a professional runner in the U.S., where she competed in the Boston Indoor Games and Fifth Avenue Mile in Manhattan, among other events.

 

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