Pregnant track & field star Tori Bowie died while in labor in bed at her Orlando, Florida home on April 23. She was only 32.
A coroner’s report, obtained by TMZ, confirmed that Tori was 8 months pregnant and “undergoing labor” when she died tragically. Her death was ruled as “natural”.
Tori died from eclampsia, a rare but serious pregnancy complication that disproportionately affects Black women.
Eclampsia triggers seizures (convulsions) in pregnant women who are diagnosed with preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia occurs when pregnant women with no prior history of high blood pressure develop hypertension and spill protein in their urine (kidney damage) after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Signs and symptoms of eclampsia include high blood pressure, headaches, dizziness, blurry vision, disorientation and convulsions.
The mother’s high blood pressure blocks the flow of oxygenated blood supply and nutrients to the fetus.
The rate of preeclampsia in Black pregnant women is 60% higher than in white women. Black women are three times more likely to die from eclampsia than white women.
More Black women are diagnosed with preeclampsia due to lack of adequate prenatal healthcare and poor diets high in saturated fats, sodium, cholesterol and sugar.
Saturated fat should be avoided because it can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and other medical problems.
Saturated fats are found in eggs, milk, cheese, burgers, red meat, pork, poultry, butter, ice cream and coconut oil.
The CDC urges pregnant women to see a doctor regularly to avoid complications.
Neighbors said Tori’s behavior was erratic in the months leading up to her death, according to DailyMail.com.
“She was a thin woman and it looked like she had half a basketball under her shirt,” said one neighbor.
One neighbor recalled encountering Tori in the street wielding a knife and screaming at her boyfriend.
“I came out of my house one time, and she was standing there in the street clutching a knife and shouting at a man,” said next-door neighbor Zehra Ugurlu.
In another strange incident, Tori threw eggs at the house opposite hers.
“We’ve heard shouting and screaming, loud music in the middle of the night. But what shocked me was that she appeared to have gotten much better lately,” said another neighbor and friend.
Tori’s friends on social media hinted that she had a history of mental health problems.
In a Facebook post, Tori’s sister wrote:
“People who pretend to be happy have some of the saddest souls and people who do not try to convince the world that they are happy have the most genuine souls, because they are content with just being them for them and nobody else.”
Tori was raised by her grandmother in Sand Hill, Mississippi, with a population of less than 100 residents at the time.
The track star was laid to rest in Brandon, Mississippi on May 13.