Meskerem Legesse, a former Olympic runner from Ethiopia now living in Westport, Conn., collapsed at a restaurant and died Monday (July 15), but doctors were able to save her unborn baby girl. Legesse was due in three weeks time.
Local Fire Chief David Berardesca tells the AP that doctors at the Yale-New Haven hospital were able to save the baby because of the CPR efforts both in the restaurant and the ambulance.
Friend Fatima Sene says, “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.”
Sene speaks of Legesse’s 2-year-old son, who was with her when she collapsed at the restaurant. The children are now in the care of Tom Laverty, their father. Friends say Legesse was planning to marry him soon.
Sene also says that Legesse had suffered heart problems in the past. The Hartford Courant reports that Legesse died of a heart attack.
Legesse ran the 1500-meter competition at the Athens Olympics at 2004, but failed to qualify for the medal race. She then moved to the U.S. and competed in various professional running events on the East Coast.