Wiren: 'Tell the baby I love him'

By Abbie VanSickle, Times Staff Writer
Published May 18, 2007

TAMPA — Hours before she died, Caroline Wiren touched her newborn son's head.

Wiren was conscious, but her doctors knew something was very wrong, her brother recalled. She turned to her mother.

"Tell the baby I love him,” Wiren said, according to her brother, Chris Still.

Wiren, 34, died Wednesday at St. Joseph's Women's Hospital from complications of child birth.

Her death stunned her family and friends, particularly because Wiren seemed an unusually healthy woman, a former Buccaneers cheerleader and the coach of the University of South Florida's dance team.

"Having a child was the pinnacle of what she wanted to do,” said Still, 38, an Alabama attorney.

The Wirens' baby, Clay, remained in the hospital Friday afternoon.

"He’s doing great,”Still said.

Wiren and her husband Nyle Wiren, a longtime player for the Storm, were thrilled to learn of her pregnancy, Still said.

Clay is the couple's first child, but both had chosen lives that kept them surrounded by youth. In between earning her bachelor's and master's degrees, Wiren worked at Walt Disney World, her family said. For her first job, she donned a mask for  cartoon characters Chip and Dale. After she finished school, she taught at a private school in St. Petersburg.

Her husband spends his spare time at the Children's Cancer Center in Tampa, where he was awarded volunteer of the year for the time and dedication he gave to families dealing with cancer.
The news of Mrs. Wiren's death stunned the cancer center community, said Mary Ann Massolio, the center's executive director.

"Nyle's always the one helping us, and now we're trying to help him,”she said.

Wiren's body is at the Hillsborough Medical Examiner's Office, where an autopsy is being performed. She will be buried in her hometown of Oxford, Miss., her brother said. The funeral will be held Saturday, May 26 at 11 a.m. at the College Hill Presbyterian Church in Oxford.