According to an autopsy report, Tori Bowie’s baby did not survive when the Olympic gold medallist died from complications of childbirth in her Florida home.
Content warning: This story contains details of a stillborn infant.
More details surrounding Tori Bowie’s tragic death have emerged after an autopsy was performed on her stillborn baby.
The Olympic gold medalist, 32, was about eight months pregnant with a baby girl when she was found dead in her Florida home on May 2, according to the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office in Florida. Officials determined that she died from complications of childbirth due to possible respiratory distress and eclampsia.
In an autopsy report for Bowie’s stillborn baby obtained by E! News, a medical examiner listed the cause of death as “intrauterine fetal demise due to maternal condition,” meaning the child died within the uterus.
The baby weighed 1.8 pounds and measured approximately 16 inches.
Following the findings, Bowie’s agent Kimberly Holland shared more insight into the athlete’s final moments, including that she was not actively performing a home birth when her baby started to arrive.
“I can only imagine now how that must have been,” Holland told CBS News on June 14. “Painful. It hurts. Also to know that there’s no baby.”
The agent added that Bowie didn’t trust hospitals and she “wanted to make sure that the baby was gonna be okay with her being in control.”
Black woman are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Factors that contribute to these disparities include variation in quality healthcare, structural racism and implicit bias.
In the wake of Bowie’s passing, her Team USA teammate Tianna Madison shared that she “nearly died” while giving birth to her son Kai in 2021.
“There are two reasons why I did make it,” she wrote on Instagram June 13. “I was all to [sic] aware of@the disparity and communicated this to my partner so we could go in eyes wide open.”
Madison additionally credited her partner Charles “Chuck” Ryan for being her advocate at a time she couldn’t speak for herself. “Even though we agreed about who his priority would be in an emergency situation he did not take no for an answer from the doctors,” she continued, “and as a result saved me AND the baby.”
In her post, Madison further highlighted the fact that “THREE (3) of the FOUR (4) of us who ran on the SECOND fastest 4x100m relay of all time, the 2016 Olympic Champions have nearly died or died in childbirth,” referring to Bowie and fellow track star Allyson Felix, who welcomed daughter Camryn in 2018.
Felix reshared Madison’s post on her Instagram Stories June 13, adding, “It’s absolutely heartbreaking. We continue to face a Black maternal mortality crisis in this country. We have to do more.”
This isn’t the first time the 11-time Olympic medalist has spoken about her difficult childbirth experience. In a 2021 PSA made for the CDC, Felix—who shares Camryn with sprinter Kenneth Ferguson—said she was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia when she was 32-weeks pregnant, resulting in her being admitted to a hospital to undergo an emergency C-section.
“It was just a really scary, tough situation,” she recalled. “I really want women to be aware, to know if they’re at risk, to have a plan in place, to not be intimidated in doctor’s offices, and to be heard. To know the signs and be persistent about anything that does not feel normal.”