Olympic Star Tori Bowie Died From Childbirth Complications

2 min read

June 14, 2023 – American track star Tori Bowie, who was found dead in Orange County, FL, earlier this year, died while in labor, according to a recently released autopsy report. She was 32 and 8 months pregnant at the time. 

The autopsy report listed respiratory distress and eclampsia as potential complications, The New York Times reported. Bowie’s exact date of death is unknown because she was not heard from for several days and was found May 2 in her home with no signs of foul play. Her death was confirmed May 3 by U.S.A. Track and Field. 

A native of Mississippi, Bowie competed at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and won three medals, including a gold in the 4x100 meter relay.

Her death spotlights the increased risk of pregnancy complications experienced by Black women. Black women are three times more likely to die of a pregnancy-related cause than white women, according to the CDC

The pregnancy complication listed on Bowie’s autopsy report, eclampsia, typically occurs as a complication of a condition called preeclampsia, which affects Black women 60% more often than white women, according to the Preeclampsia Foundation. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy disorder in which a woman has high blood pressure and a specific protein is found in their urine. According to the Cleveland Clinic, eclampsia is considered a preeclampsia complication, but “it can happen without signs of preeclampsia.” When eclampsia occurs, a woman experiences seizures, severe distress or confusion, and may lose consciousness.

Overall, 1 in 25 women are diagnosed with preeclampsia during pregnancy, and among them, just 3% experience eclampsia, according to the Cleveland Clinic. 

Bowie’s longtime agent, Kimberly Holland, told ABC News that she spoke with Bowie a few weeks before her death and there was no mention of complications with the pregnancy.

"She was filled with so much joy. She was so happy. It was one of our best conversations in a long time," Holland told ABC. "She never complained about any discomfort or that she was having any problems. She was getting prepared to have the baby in a couple of weeks."

A funeral program said Bowie was preceded in death by a daughter named Ariana Bowie, according to the Times.