The following photo of Meskerem Legesse was provided by her friends.
HAMDEN, CT (WFSB) -
Hamden emergency crews were able to deliver a baby after her mother, who ran for Ethiopia in the Olympics, passed away Monday afternoon.
Professional mile runner Meskerem Legesse, 26, of Westport, was eating lunch at the Chinese restaurant in the 900 block of Dixwell Avenue when she suddenly collapsed on the floor, friends told Eyewitness News.
Emergency crews performed CPR on Legesse, who was three weeks away from delivering her second child. She was taken Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Legesse died a short time later; however, the baby was delivered by hospital staff.
Legesse's friends told Eyewitness News she was a professional mile runner from Ethiopia, but had to stop when she developed heart problems.
They said she was so careful with her second pregnancy, she only drank water.
"She always tried to eat healthy and she always makes sure her son eats good," said friend Fatima Sene. "I just don't know what to say."
Eyewitness News was told she had not been back to Ethiopia for nine years and was waiting for the birth of her second child so she could finally visit.
"She wanted to see her mother, so I want to get her home," Sene said. "I want to make sure she goes home."
Friends said Legesse also has a 2-year-old son. Both children are now being cared for by their father.
According to reports, Legesse was an Ethiopian National Champion twice in 800 meters and 1,500 meters. She also competed in the 2004 Olympics.
Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.