Natural Causes: World Cup Journalist Grant Wahl’s Cause of Death Determined

An autopsy has revealed American soccer sportswriter Grant Wahl died of an ascending aortic aneurysm.

An autopsy has revealed American soccer sportswriter Grant Wahl’s wife, Céline Gounder, discussed the cause of death — a burst blood vessel — during an appearance Wednesday on CBS Mornings. His body and belongings were flown back to New York City on Monday, where an autopsy was performed at the NYC medical examiner’s office. In a statement, Gounder said, “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.”

A tribute to journalist Grant Wahl is shown at the World Cup. Wahl, 48, collapsed and died while covering a match last week. (Graham Dunbar/AP)

Wahl was covering Friday’s Argentina-Netherlands quarterfinal match at the World Cup in Doha, Qatar. The 48-year-old collapsed during the game at the press tribune inside Lusail Stadium. Paramedics rushed to perform emergency care and after about 30 minutes, he was taken to a local hospital.

Wahl is one of three journalists who has died while covering the World Cup since it began on November 20. The first was ITV sports director Roger Pearce, who “passed away suddenly” last month inside his hotel. The most recent was a Qatari photojournalist with Al Kass TV, Khalid al-Misslam, who “died suddenly” this past weekend.

FIFA acknowledged the deaths on Tuesday and set up flower memorials, pictures of the three and condolence books inside the media center of Lusail Stadium during the Argentina-Croatia semifinal.

American soccer players both past and present along with other sports figures have been paying tribute to Wahl since his death.

After his body was returned to the U.S. earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted “I so appreciated Grant Wahl, whose writing captured not only the essence of the beautiful game but also the world around it.”

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