Published On: Thu, Jul 18th, 2013

Pregnant former Olympian Meskerem Legesse dies from a heart attack, her baby daughter saved

Authorities in Connecticut said Meskerem Legesse, an Olympic runner from Ethiopia, died of a massive heart attack while eight months pregnant and the age of  26.

Meskerem Legesse

Meskerem Legesse

Capt. Ronald Smith of the Hamden Police Department said authorities responded and firefighters attempted CPR, but Legesse was pronounced dead at Yale-New Haven Hospital, but were able to save the unborn child.

Doctors were able to deliver the baby, a daughter.

Legesse was 17 when she competed in the 1,500 meter run at the 2004 Olympics, where she placed 17th.

Bill Staab, president of the West Side Runners club, based in New York, said he knew Legesse, but she was not a member of the club.

“She was quite beloved in the running community,” Staab said. “She was charming, a very attractive woman and a good mother. It’s a tremendous loss to the Ethiopian running community in the New York area.”

Legesse is survived by her newborn daughter, a 2-year-old son and her husband, Tom Laverty.



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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco


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