Grant Wahl dead, cause of death, how did he die, aortic aneurysm, latest, updates

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Grant Wahl, the prominent soccer journalist who collapsed and died while covering the World Cup in Qatar last week, suffered an aortic aneurysm, his wife revealed Wednesday.

“It was just one of those things that had been likely brewing for years,” Dr. Céline Gounder told “CBS Mornings.”

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Wahl, 49, was stricken at his press seat at Lusail Iconic Stadium Friday while covering the quarterfinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

The former Sports Illustrated reporter had described suffering from a severe cough in the days before his death, which some studies have linked to thoracic aortic aneurisms.

In a Substack update published hours later on Wednesday, Gounder further explained that Wahl suffered “from the rupture of a slowly growing, undetected ascending aortic aneurysm with hemopericardium.”

“The chest pressure he experienced shortly before his death may have represented the initial symptoms. No amount of CPR or shocks would have saved him,” she continued.

“There was nothing nefarious about his death.”

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The Mayo Clinic describes aortic aneurisms as bulges in the walls of the aorta, the major blood vessel that carries blood from the heart. Capable of forming in both the abdomen and the chest cavity, the bulges are susceptible to bursting, resulting in catastrophic internal bleeding.

Wahl had criticised the World Cup host’s treatment of migrant workers and its laws restricting LGBT rights.

He was detained for 30 minutes prior to the USA’s World Cup opener against Wales Nov. 21 for wearing a shirt depicting a soccer ball surrounded by rainbow — leading his brother Eric to suspect Grant’s death had a nefarious cause.

“My name is Eric Wahl. I live in Seattle, Washington. I am Grant Wahl’s brother. I’m gay,” he said in a video posted to his Instagram Friday night.

“I’m the reason he wore the rainbow shirt to the World Cup. My brother was healthy. He told me he received death threats. I do not believe my brother just died. I believe he was killed. And I just beg for any help.”

Eric Wahl walked back his initial claim on Twitter Monday, saying that he no longer suspected foul play, and that “it seems possible Grant experienced a pulmonary embolism.”

He later retracted those comments as well.

There was an on-screen tribute for American journalist Grant Wahl after his shock death during the World Cup. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“I was in shock, and I just had limited information to go on,” he explained to The Post Tuesday.

Wahl’s body was transported back to the United States on Monday. Gounder, an infectious disease physician affiliated with Bellevue Hospital, accompanied her husband’s body to the city medical examiner.

Born in Mission, Kan., Wahl studied politics at Princeton University. He went on to work for more than 20 years at Sports Illustrated, and was also a contributor to CBS Sports and Fox Sports.

In 2009, he authored the New York Times Best Seller “The Beckham Experiment,” about the English superstar’s move to Major League Soccer.

After being dismissed from Sports Illustrated during the Covid pandemic, Wahl wrote the newsletter “Fútbol with Grant Wahl” on Substack.

He also hosted a podcast of the same name.

“Fans of soccer and journalism of the highest quality knew we could always count on Grant to deliver insightful and entertaining stories about our game, and its major protagonists,” US Soccer said in a statement following Wahl’s death.

“Grant made soccer his life’s work, and we are devastated that he and his brilliant writing will no longer be with us.”

Grant’s wife paid tribute to him in her emotional post on his Substack on Wednesday.

“Grant was an incredibly empathetic, dedicated, and loving husband, brother, uncle, and son who was our greatest teammate and fan,” Gounder wrote.

“Grant had a deep respect and appreciation for his audience. He devoted his work life to earning their — your — time and respect in turn. Above all, he expressed his values through his work: his commitments to seeking truth through reporting, supporting fundamental human rights, and fighting for equality.”

This story originally appeared on the New York Post and has been reposted with permission

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