Just days after winning a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, Team USA shot putter Raven Saunders shared Tuesday that her mother has died.
Clarissa Saunders died in Orlando, Florida, where she was attending a watch party of the competition for her daughter, her family told WCBD-TV, a news station in Saunders’ hometown of Charleston, South Carolina.
The younger Saunders, known by the nickname “Hulk,” tweeted Tuesday that she was taking a break from social media to take care of her mental health and family.
“My mama was a great woman and will forever live through me. My number one guardian angel,” she wrote. “I will always and forever love you.”
Saunders said earlier this year in a Mother’s Day post that her mom was the number one woman in her life.
“You’ve shown me what strength is and for that I can push through anything. You’ve shown me relentlessness and for that I’ve learned determination. You’ve given me life and shown me love and for that I owe you everything,” she wrote.
USA Track and Field offered its condolences Tuesday in a message posted on social media.
“Her mother leaves behind an incredible legacy in her daughter for who we are so proud and grateful to call our teammate,” it said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Saunders family during this difficult time.”
Saunders made headlines Sunday when she raised her arms above her head in an X symbol while on the podium during the medal ceremony, despite a ban on protests and demonstrations at the Olympics. She said she did so in recognition of “all people who are oppressed.”
“I feel amazing because I know I’m about to inspire so many people,” Saunders told reporters, according to NBC News. “I’m about to inspire so many young girls, so many young boys, so many LGBTQ people, so many people that have battled suicide. So many people that have almost given up. Shoot, hopefully, the family of those that actually have lost somebody, man. It’s not, it’s not just about me.”