Pregnant ex-Olympic runner collapses at Chinese restaurant, dies; doctors save her baby

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Just three weeks before her due date, former Olympic runner Meskerem Legesse collapsed at a Chinese restaurant in Connecticut and died, but doctors were able to save her baby.

The 26-year-old Ethiopian was eating lunch with her 2-year-old son on Monday when she collapsed at a restaurant in Hamden, said her friend Fatima Sene, according to The Washington Post. The runner died that day at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

The cause of the former athlete’s death was unclear. The Courant is reporting she died of a massive heart attack, though no autopsy has been performed.

Hamden Fire Chief David Berardesca said CPR efforts in the restaurant and ambulance allowed doctors to save the baby, the Daily Mail reported.

“It is very sad. She was a very good person,” Sene said, adding that Legesse had suffered heart problems in the past. “She would do anything for anybody. And she loved that little boy she left behind.”

According to the Star Tribune, the state medical examiner’s office has declined to perform an autopsy, citing the runner’s past health problems.

Legesse ran in the 1,500-meter competition at the Athens Olympics in 2004. She finished 12th in a first-round heat and didn’t advance to the medal race. She has competed in the Boston Indoor Games, Fifth Avenue Mile in Manhattan and the Millrose Games in New York, the Washington Post reported.

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