Grant Wahl’s wife reveals cause of death in first interview since he died

Grant Wahl‘s wife, Dr. Celine Gounder, told CBS News on Wednesday the renowned soccer journalist died due to an aortic aneurysm that ruptured.

“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,” said Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and CBS News contributor.

Wahl died on Friday at the age of 49 while in Qatar covering the World Cup. His agent, Tim Scanlan, had said the journalist “appeared to have suffered some sort of acute distress in the press room” of the stadium during the quarterfinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands, when the two teams began playing in extra time. Paramedics were called to the scene, Scanlan said, but were unable to revive him.

Qatari officials said in a statement that Wahl “received immediate medical treatment on site, which continued as he was transferred by ambulance to Hamad General Hospital.”

His body was repatriated to the United States on Monday.

Tributes quickly poured in for Wahl, from athletes like LeBron James to Billie Jean King.

“I want people to remember him as this kind, generous person who was really dedicated to social justice,” Gounder said.

Grant Wahl
Grant Wahl is seen at a game between the U.S. men’s national team and Ecuador at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut, on Oct. 10, 2014. (Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

Wahl spoke about his health on his Spotify podcast Thursday, saying that he had contracted bronchitis while covering the World Cup. Scanlan told CBS News that Wahl had an “aggressive schedule” while in Qatar.

A prolific journalist, Wahl wrote for multiple outlets and was a CBS Sports contributor. He was an analyst on CBS Sports HQ throughout the Qatar World Cup, and wrote guest columns focused on the U.S. men’s national team for CBS Sports. He was also an editorial consultant for soccer documentaries on Paramount+.

Gounder tweeted Friday that she was “in complete shock” over her husband’s death and thanked Wahl’s “soccer family” and their friends for their support.

“To know that he was loved by so many people makes me feel a little less alone,” Gounder told King. “It’s like a warm hug when you really need it.”

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