Special Olympian Shanice Baptiste died at her home in Whiteland (near Williamsville) on Friday afternoon after ailing with a lung disorder. A relative of the former athlete confirmed the news on Friday and said an autopsy is expected to be performed on Monday.

Baptiste, who competed in bocce, was selected to represent TT at the 2019 Special Olympic International World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, but was unable to do so after suffering a severe asthma attack. She was taken to the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi, where she stayed for close to two weeks. She was accompanied by her coach Clevanic Cupid.

Upon receipt of the sad news, the National Centre for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) issued a statement via its Facebook page, mourning the loss of one of its esteemed members.

“The NCPD is truly saddened to learn of the passing of Shanice Baptiste who was an apprentice in our Food Preparation Department as well as a National Special Olympics Athlete. The board of directors, management, all members of staff and the entire NCPD family wish to express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Shanice Baptiste.”

It continued, “Shanice was greatly loved by many who knew her. She was very competitive in the game of bocce and was given an opportunity to represent TT at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi last year. Her friends, instructors and colleagues at NCPD would describe her to have been a very jolly, brave, cheerful and hard-working individual. She will surely be missed by everyone and memories of her will forever live on in our hearts. Fly high with the angels dearest Shanice.”

TT Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis was also saddened by the loss of a national athlete.

“I want to express my sincerest condolences to her family members and her fellow athletes who trained and grew up alongside her. This is extremely sad news,” he said.