Meegan Hefford, 25, died in June after a rare genetic disorder prevented her from breaking down the mass amounts of protein she was consuming to prepare for a bodybuilding competition, PerthNow reports. Hefford had been eating protein-rich foods over the last few months of her life in addition to drinking protein shakes and taking vitamin supplements.
Hefford was found unconscious on the floor of her Mandurah, Australia, apartment on June 19 by a real estate agent conducting a regular rental inspection. She was rushed to the hospital where doctors could not figure out why the woman was losing mass amounts of brain activity. Two days later, she was pronounced brain dead and diagnosed with urea cycle disorder, a rare genetic condition that can be treated with diet and medication, but oftentimes goes undiagnosed, allowing ammonia to build up in the bloodstream.
Michelle White, Hefford’s mother, told PerthNow her daughter complained of feeling “weird” earlier in June. “I said to her, ‘I think you’re doing too much at the gym, calm down, slow it down’,” she said. White was shocked because until then, her daughter had never been sick. Even while in the hospital, “she didn’t look sick, she looked beautiful.”
According to PEOPLE, “intake of bodybuilding supplements” is listed by the coroner as one of the official causes of her death.
Hefford is survived by her seven-year-old daughter and five-year-old son.
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