In a poignant Instagram post, Rebecca Adlington, the former competitive swimmer, unveiled the tragic loss of her daughter, Harper, following a late miscarriage.
This news follows the anguish Rebecca faced last year when she endured another miscarriage at 12 weeks.
The 34-year-old Olympian expressed her sorrow, writing, "I don't really have the words right now but unfortunately we went for our 20-week scan this week and they found no heartbeat. I gave birth to our angel, Harper on Friday at 7 pm. We held her, and had time with her. We will forever love her and remember her always."
Rebecca and her husband, Andy Parsons, are parents to two-year-old Albie. Additionally, Rebecca has an eight-year-old daughter, Summer, from her previous marriage to fellow swimmer Harry Needs.
The grief-stricken mother extended her heartfelt gratitude to the staff at Wythenshawe Hospital and lauded her husband for his unwavering support during such a challenging time. "His selfless support, love, and help is truly amazing. I couldn't have survived without you," she acknowledged.
Rebecca's decision to share such personal news came from a place of candidness. "I don't have the strength or words right now, and don't feel ready to share this news. However, I can't pretend to be OK or fake a smile. I can't have people ask me how pregnancy is or when I am due as I still look pregnant," she shared.
The heartrending post elicited an outpouring of compassion and support from Rebecca's fans, friends, and fellow athletes.
Greg Rutherford, an esteemed athlete, extended his condolences, saying, "Sending love to you. So sorry to read this Becky xx."
Likewise, Olympian Jessica Ennis Hill posted her sympathies, stating, "Oh Becky I'm sending you and your family so much love. I'm so sorry xxxx." Hockey star Sam Quek also reached out, commenting, "Becky, I know no words will ease the pain… my entire heart is with you all."
Rebecca had joyfully announced her third pregnancy this September, a year following her previous miscarriage.
A painful memory lingers of her expressing feelings of responsibility for the tragedy, despite doctors assuring her that she couldn't have done anything differently.
Reflecting on her past pregnancies, she had shared with The Mirror, "I felt really responsible for the miscarriage, even though it wasn't my fault... because I've done it twice before and been absolutely fine."
Rebecca and Andy's love story commenced on the dating app Bumble in 2018. Their relationship swiftly blossomed, leading Andy to move from Liverpool to Manchester to be with Rebecca in 2019.
The couple exchanged vows in a beautiful Cheshire ceremony, mere months after welcoming Albie. Speaking about their union, Rebecca had enthused, "It worked out perfectly for us. We couldn't be happier."
Rebecca's illustrious swimming career includes two gold medals at the 2008 Olympics and two bronze medals in the London 2012 games.
Following her historic double gold win in 2008, she became the UK's first Olympic swimming champion since 1988. At the age of 23, in 2013, she bid adieu to competitive swimming.