The sudden and heartbreaking passing of Tori Bowie, former Olympic and world champion sprinter, has sent shockwaves through the athletic community. An autopsy report obtained by USA Today Sports reveals that the 32-year-old athlete died in her Orlando, Florida home due to complications from childbirth. The local sheriff’s department discovered her lifeless body during a well-being check in May, after several days of her absence. At the time, the cause of her death was undisclosed. Tori Bowie’s online obituary mentions the unfortunate loss of her daughter, Ariana.
According to the report from the Orange County Medical Examiner Office, Tori Bowie was eight months pregnant and in the process of giving birth when she tragically passed away. It remains unclear if her pregnancy was known to her friends and family.
The autopsy report suggests potential causes of death, including respiratory distress and eclampsia. Eclampsia, a rare complication of pre-eclampsia, can lead to seizures and strokes. Responding to the autopsy findings, BET, a prominent broadcaster, shed light on the challenges faced by Black women in America during pregnancy. Black women born in the US experience significantly higher rates of pre-eclampsia compared to women of other backgrounds. BET underscored the urgent need to protect and advocate for the health of Black women, as they face higher risks of maternal death due to factors such as chronic stress and implicit bias from healthcare providers.
We are deeply saddened to learn the cause of death of Olympic medalist and world champion sprinter, Tori Bowie.— BET (@BET) June 12, 2023
Black women die at exceedingly higher rates due to pregnancy-related complications. We face a much higher risk of maternal death due to various reasons including… pic.twitter.com/ltsx5RDzGQ
Tori Bowie was a remarkable athlete who secured three gold medals on the global stage for the United States. Her first triumph came as part of the USA 4x100m relay team at the 2016 Olympics. The following year proved to be even more successful, as she captured another relay gold at the World Athletics Championships in London and claimed an individual gold in the 100m, edging out Marie-Josée Ta Lou of Ivory Coast in a thrilling photo finish.
Following her victory, Tori Bowie expressed her disbelief, stating, “I had no idea. All I knew was I wanted to give it everything I’ve got. Am I really world champion?”
Born and raised in Mississippi, she initially excelled in basketball before her talent on the track became evident. As a girl, she secured state titles in the 100m, 200m, and long jump.
Tori Bowie’s Olympic journey also yielded two additional medals: a silver and bronze in the 100m and 200m, respectively, at the 2016 Rio Games. Prior to her untimely passing, she had been studying music at Full Sail University and was actively involved in working with underprivileged children, as noted in her obituary.
Her fellow USA teammate, English Gardner, conveyed deep admiration for Tori Bowie, saying, “I wish you could feel how much respect I have for her. I wish you could feel how amazing of a competitor she was.” The legacy of Tori Bowie, an exceptional athlete and compassionate individual, will continue to inspire and be remembered by all whose lives she touched.