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Pregnant Olympian Collapses, Dies in Connecticut Chinese Restaurant

A former Olympic runner from Ethiopia died three weeks before her expected due date after collapsing at a Connecticut restaurant, but rapid medical response from Hamden, Conn., emergency crews saved her unborn baby’s life. 

Meskerem Legesse, 26, collapsed at a Chinese restaurant in Hamden. Although the cause of death wasn’t immediately clear, friends say she had suffered from heart problems in the past, which is why she ended her running career.

Legesse’s death was first reported by Hartford-area CBS affiliate WFSB-TV, which obtained surveillance video from the restaurant showing Legesse entering with her son, sitting down in a chair and collapsing to the floor within seconds.

Hamden firefighters and paramedics with American Medical Response performed CPR on her at the restaurant and en route to the hospital, where doctors were able to save the baby because of the CPR efforts, according to Hamden Fire Chief David Berardesca.