Grant Wahl, an American journalist covering the World Cup, died suddenly on December 10th. Details surrounding his death were sparse, and many, even Wahl’s brother, suspected foul play or another nefarious cause for his sudden death. However, after public outcry, his wife has revealed the cause of his death as an aortic aneurysm, ruling out all concerns that someone or something devious was behind his death.
Timothy H.J. Nerozzi; December 14, 2022
American soccer journalist Grant Wahl died of a “slowly growing, undetected” ascending aortic aneurysm with hemopericardium, a New York City medical examiner autopsy found, according to Wahl’s wife, Dr. Celine Gounder.
Wahl died while covering the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. He was 48.
“He had an autopsy done here in New York by the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office, and it showed that he had an aortic aneurysm that ruptured,” Gounder told CBS News on Thursday.
Wahl “fell ill” while covering the Argentina-Netherlands quarterfinal, a spokesperson for the Qatari World Cup planning committee told Fox News. After paramedics performed CPR for several minutes at the scene, he was taken to Hamad General Hospital.
“The chest pressure he experienced shortly before his death may have represented the initial symptoms,” Gounder wrote on Wahl’s website. “No amount of CPR or shocks would have saved him. His death was unrelated to COVID. His death was unrelated to vaccination status. There was nothing nefarious about his death.”
“I kept on asking: did he have a pulse?” said Gounder. “If he had a pulse when he left the stadium that would have been a good sign, but no one would answer the question. And so to me – I was scared.”
“It’s just one of these things that had been likely brewing for years, and for whatever reason it happened at this point in time,” Gounder added.
Wahl had been “laughing at a joke we saw on Twitter” just minutes before reportedly collapsing, journalist Rafael Cores, who was sitting next to Wahl at the game, said. In the days prior, Wahl had a case of bronchitis, he said on a podcast.
“My body finally broke down on me. Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and lots of work can do that to you,” Wahl wrote on Dec. 5. “What had been a cold over the last 10 days turned into something more severe on the night of the USA-Netherlands game, and I could feel my upper chest take on a new level of pressure and discomfort.”
Wahl wrote that he tested negative for COVID-19 and sought treatment for his symptoms.
“I went into the medical clinic at the main media center today, and they said I probably have bronchitis. They gave me a course of antibiotics and some heavy-duty cough syrup, and I’m already feeling a bit better just a few hours later. But still: No bueno,” he wrote.
His brother, Eric Wahl, announced his brother’s death on Instagram and initially suggested that he may have been killed because he previously wore a rainbow-colored shirt to a game.
Eric Wahl walked back those allegations of foul play Tuesday.
“As soon as I heard about his death, the first thing I thought was that he had been murdered,” Eric Wahl said. “I based it on things G said the last two times I talked to him. But obviously I don’t know anything for sure.”