Journalist Grant Wahl’s cause of death has been revealed following an autopsy after his sudden passing while reporting at the World Cup in Qatar.
Wahl’s widow, Dr. Celine Gounder, told CBS News on Wednesday that her husband’s death was due to a heart condition.
“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 said during the interview.
Grant Wahl’s wife, Dr. @celinegounder, reveals that the renowned journalist died due to an aortic aneurysm that ruptured at the World Cup.
Gounder says she hopes he is remembered as a “kind, generous person who was really dedicated to social justice.” pic.twitter.com/aaVkb2dhrb
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) December 14, 2022
“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,” she told “CBS Mornings” co-host Gayle King in her first interview since Wahl’s death.
Wahl, 49, died on Friday in Doha while covering the World Cup. CBS News initially reported that he had experienced a heart attack.
Gounder released an update on Wednesday with additional details.
“The chest pressure he experienced shortly before his death may have represented the initial symptoms,” she explained. “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.”
On behalf of myself and our family, I want to express our deepest gratitude for the outpouring of support, love, and sympathy from around the world. Here is a message from our family and the latest update surrounding our beloved Grant:https://t.co/jPsggW6gfd
— Céline Gounder, MD, ScM, FIDSA 🇺🇦 (@celinegounder) December 14, 2022
The Daily Wire previously reported that Wahl said he went to a medical facility to receive treatment the Monday before his death because he was not feeling well.
“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. “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 returned for additional medical treatment on Thursday after his condition had not improved. He died suddenly on Friday following the World Cup’s quarterfinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands.
The soccer journalist received treatment on-site from paramedics and was rushed by ambulance to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“I am so thankful for the support of my husband @GrantWahl ‘s soccer family & of so many friends who’ve reached out tonight,” Gounder tweeted on Friday following his death. “I am in complete shock.”
Wahl sparked controversy during the World Cup in November after he said he was denied entry to the venue because he wore a rainbow t-shirt in support of gay rights. Gay and lesbian sex is a criminal offense in Qatar.
Wahl’s brother, Eric Wahl, initially said he believed his brother was killed since he was healthy prior to his death.
“My name is Eric Wahl. I live in Seattle, Washington. I am Grant Wahl’s brother,” he said in a video posted to Twitter. “I’m gay, 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,” he continued. “I believe he was killed and I just beg for any help.”
Eric Wahl later said that he had changed his mind and was no longer suspicious about the circumstances.
“The family will release a statement as to cause of death soon. I no longer suspect foul play. It was not PE,” he wrote, ruling out pulmonary embolism.