Olympic sprinter Tori Bowie talks about her excitement of motherhood before passing away from pregnancy complications

Kimberly Holland, Bowie’s agent and friend, expressed her belief that the baby in question would have been incredibly fortunate. She remarked, “I think that that would have been one of the most luckiest babies ever, because she had so much love to give.”

Tori Bowie’s passing came as a tragic shock just two weeks after she eagerly shared her anticipation of motherhood with her long-time agent and confidant, Kimberly Holland. At eight months pregnant, Bowie had already prepared baby clothes and her voice exuded excitement as she spoke to Holland over the phone. Their conversation, Holland recalls, was filled with a sense of new beginnings, as Bowie eagerly looked forward to embarking on this new chapter in her life.

However, fate took a devastating turn. The 32-year-old former world’s fastest woman was discovered lifeless on May 2 in her Winter Garden, Florida, residence, prompting authorities to conduct a well-being check. The recently released autopsy report, obtained by NBC News from the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office, unveiled that Bowie’s cause of death was childbirth-related complications. The report revealed no indications of foul play or drug involvement. It identified respiratory distress and eclampsia, a severe and rare pregnancy-related condition more prevalent among Black women, as potential factors contributing to her tragic demise.

While Bowie had not publicly announced her pregnancy, she shared her excitement with Holland, who emphasized that she was blissfully happy in their final conversation. Although Bowie’s medical history included bipolar disorder, Holland recalled that her demeanor was one of pure joy. The bond between them extended beyond a typical athlete-manager relationship, with Holland considering Bowie as a beloved daughter.

The loss of Tori Bowie, a remarkable track and field athlete, leaves behind a sense of sorrow and disbelief, as the world mourns the untimely passing of a radiant spirit filled with hope and anticipation for the new life she was about to embrace.

6-year-old conversed with Jesus while experiencing a near-death episode in the hospital

Due to their close bond, Holland felt at ease discussing personal matters with Bowie, including her well-being during her pregnancy. According to Holland, Bowie had never been a particularly hearty eater, so in their last conversation, Holland gently reminded her that she was now nourishing herself for two.

“I started to come off, I think, a little preachy, because she started to shut me down and she was like, ‘Miss Kim, the baby is fine.’ So that was my cue to leave it alone,” she said.

When Holland inquired whether Bowie was attending her prenatal appointments, Bowie shrugged it off and expressed her reluctance to have her baby in a hospital. In response, Holland extended an offer for Bowie to stay at her Atlanta home, where she could closely monitor her well-being, ensure proper care, and make sure she was eating enough. The autopsy report revealed that Bowie, standing at 5 feet 9 inches, weighed a mere 96 pounds at the time of her passing.

“As an adult, you make your own decisions,” Holland remarked, she wished that Bowie had been more open to receiving help from her or other family members. She believed that with their support, they could have approached matters differently, ensuring that everything was handled in the best possible way.

Despite her concerns, Holland had unwavering confidence in Bowie’s ability to be a wonderful parent. Over the years, Holland had observed Bowie’s gentle nature, particularly in her interactions with Holland’s 13-year-old daughter. Reflecting on Bowie’s capacity to love, Holland believed that the baby would have been incredibly fortunate to receive such an overflow of affection.

A new spotlight on U.S. maternal mortality

Specifics regarding Bowie’s death, such as the exact date, remain uncertain.

According to the Mayo Clinic, eclampsia, a condition that can arise in women with preeclampsia during pregnancy, can occur suddenly and without warning.

The Mayo Clinic’s website states, “Signs and symptoms that may appear before seizures include severe headaches, vision problems, mental confusion or altered behaviors.”

Bowie’s untimely death has drawn attention to the alarming rates of maternal mortality in the United States. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that maternal mortality rates in the U.S. are higher than in any other developed country. Additionally, the statistics indicate that Black mothers are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes compared to white women.

During her prime, Bowie stood as a symbol of extraordinary physical fitness. Her achievements included being crowned the fastest woman in the world after securing victory in the 100-meter dash at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London. In the preceding year, she played an integral role in the 4×100 relay team, which comprised Allyson Felix, English Gardner, and Tianna Bartoletta, that clinched the gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. Bowie herself also earned an individual silver medal in the 100-meter race and a bronze in the 200 meters during the same event.

6-year-old conversed with Jesus while experiencing a near-death episode in the hospital

Craig Poole, Bowie’s former coach at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California, described her as a committed athlete who combined raw talent with a strong work ethic. He also emphasized the joy she brought to those around her, highlighting her sparkling personality, infectious smile, and contagious laughter.

Poole revealed that he had lost touch with Bowie after the 2019 World Athletic Championships in Doha, Qatar. Learning about her passing and her pregnancy left him stunned because their last conversation had made no mention of her desire to become a mother. Poole recalled how focused Bowie had been on her athletic pursuits, particularly in running and jumping.

Bowie’s teammate Allyson Felix, who has openly shared her own traumatic childbirth experience, declined to comment on the matter. However, in a tweet on Tuesday, Felix expressed her deep sadness regarding the racial disparities in maternal health, describing them as “absolutely heartbreaking.”

“We continue to face a black maternal mortality crisis in this country,” Felix tweeted. “My heart aches. We have to do more.”

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