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Olympic gold medalist Tori Bowie died from childbirth complications, autopsy finds

<i>Quinn Rooney/Getty Images</i><br/>
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

By Jamiel Lynch and Rebekah Riess, CNN

(CNN) — American track and field champion Tori Bowie died from complications of childbirth, according to an autopsy report released by the Orange County, Florida, medical examiner’s office.

The three-time Olympic medalist was found deceased in bed on May 2, according to the report. The 32-year-old was estimated to be eight months pregnant, and there was evidence she had been in labor.

Bowie’s manner of death was ruled natural, and the report stated that there had been “possible complications,” including “respiratory distress and eclampsia.”

Preeclampsia happens when a woman who previously had normal blood pressure suddenly develops “high blood pressure and protein in her urine or other problems after 20 weeks of pregnancy,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some women with preeclampsia can develop seizures or coma – a condition called eclampsia – which is a medical emergency, the CDC says.

Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy appear to be on the rise in the US. Older women as well as Black, American Indian and Alaska Native women were at higher risk of hypertensive disorders, according to data published last year by the CDC.

As CNN previously reported, federal data showed that the nation’s overall maternal death rate rose significantly in 2021, with the rates among Black women more than twice as high as those of White women.

Bowie won three medals at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio: gold in the 4x100m relay, silver in the 100 meters and bronze in the 200 meters. At the 2017 world championships, she won gold in both the 100 meters and the 4x100m.

A native of Sandhill, Mississippi, Bowie was a three-time All-American at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Bowie’s last official competition was in June 2022. Her last appearance on the world stage was in 2019 at the world championships in Doha, when she finished fourth in the long jump.

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