Clarissa Saunders, the mother of U.S. track and field star Raven Saunders, has died just days after her daughter won her first Olympic medal.
The elder Saunders passed away while in Orlando, Florida, according to a Tuesday report from NBC affiliate WCBD-TV in Saunders' hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. Saunders was in Orlando attending a viewing party to watch her 25-year-old daughter compete at the Tokyo Olympics.
Raven Saunders won a silver medal for Team USA in the women’s shot put final in Tokyo on Sunday.
The popular athlete confirmed her mother's passing in a tweet Tuesday, writing, "Hoping off social media for a while to take care of my mental and my family. My mama was a great woman and will forever live through me. My number one guardian angel 🙏🏾 I will always and forever love you."
A cause of death has not been announced.
Saunders' agent told TODAY in a statement, "Clarissa's sudden death has been a shock to all. I am like everyone else still waiting for more details. I am hopeful of additional information from Raven once she arrives in Orlando. I am trying to get answers to what happened as all we know she was in Orlando with family for the watch parties that had been set up for these Olympics."
USA Track & Field, along with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, shared a message on social media in support of Saunders and her family.
"The USOPC & USATF would like to offer Raven our most sincere condolences. Her mother leaves behind an incredible legacy in her daughter for who we are so proud and grateful to call our teammate. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Saunders family during this difficult time," the organization tweeted.
In honor of Mother's Day this past May, Saunders shared an Instagram video of herself riding in a car with her mom. A second video in her post showed her mom being sung to on her birthday.
In her heartfelt caption, Saunders thanked her mom for teaching her about strength and resilience.
"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," wrote Saunders.
"Happy Mother’s Day to the number one woman in my life. I love you and thank you for being a great mother!!!!" she added.