News of the tragic death of, a three-time Olympic medalist in track and field, sent shockwaves throughout the track and field community. The 32-year-old athlete was found dead at her Florida home last month during a well-being check conducted by Orange County Sheriff’s deputies after she hadn’t been heard from in days.
The Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an, which indicated that Bowie was eight months pregnant and alone at home, undergoing labor at the time of her death. The report cited “possible complications,” including respiratory distress and eclampsia, a rare high blood pressure that can cause seizures. Her unborn child did not survive.
According to Kimberly Holland, Bowie’s agent, the track star was not actively performing a home birth when her baby started to arrive.
“I can only imagine now how that must have been,” Holland said. “Painful. It hurts. Also to know that there’s no baby.”
In their last conversation, Bowie and Holland were preparing for the birth of Bowie’s baby girl.
Bowie’s death highlights a painful reality many Black families face. The number of women who die during or shortly after childbirth in the United States is. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black women are three times more likely than White women to die from pregnancy-related causes.
“There are systemic barriers that we face in regard to racism, sexism and income inequality, and that shows up in our healthcare system,” said Dr. Regina Davis Moss, president and CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda.
Holland said Bowie didn’t trust hospitals.
“She wanted to make sure that the baby was gonna be okay with her being in control,” Holland said.
No foul play was suspected in Bowie’s death, according to the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office.
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