19/07/2013 13:53 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Pregnant Olympic Runner Collapsed And Died In Restaurant - But Doctors Saved Her Baby

An eight months' pregnant former Olympic marathon runner collapsed and died in a restaurant – but amazingly doctors were able to save her baby.

Ethiopian Meskerem Legesse, 26, was with her two-year-old son at a Chinese restaurant in Hamden, Connecticut, US. eating lunch when she collapsed.

But in a race against time, doctors were able to deliver her baby, which has been due in three weeks.

The runner quit the sport because of heart problems and it is reported that she died from a massive heart attack.

Supremely health-conscious because of her condition, a friend, Fatima Sene, said she was extra careful to take care of herself during her pregnancy.

"She always tried to eat healthy and she always makes sure her son eats good," said Fatima.

Local news reported that Meskerem had not been back to Ethiopia in nine years and was waiting for the birth of her second child so she could finally visit.

"She was so excited (about the pregnancy)," Fatima said.

"When she found out she was going to have a girl, she called me.

"She wanted to see her mother, so I want to get her home."

Fatima added that Meskerem 's two-year-old son and the newborn baby are with their father.

According to the Star Tribune, the state medical examiner's office has declined to perform an autopsy, citing Meskerem 's past health problems.

Meskerem ran the 1,500 metres at the Athens Olympics in 2004. She finished 12th in a first-round heat with a time of 4:18:03 and didn't advance to the medal race. She moved on to a professional running career in the US, competing in events including the Boston Indoor Games, Fifth Avenue Mile in Manhattan and the Millrose Games in New York.