Soccer journalist Grant Wahl died of an aortic aneurysm in Qatar, where he was covering the World Cup, his wife said Wednesday, citing an autopsy.
Wahl, 49, was covering the Argentina-Netherlands quarterfinal match Friday when he “fell ill” and was tended to on-site by paramedics and taken to a hospital, Qatar officials said last week. He was pronounced dead shortly after.
His body arrived in New York City on Monday and was transferred to the local medical examiner’s office.
Wahl’s wife, Dr. Céline Gounder, revealed the cause of his death on “CBS Mornings” on Wednesday.
“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,” she said on the show.
“It’s just one of those things that had been likely brewing for years,” she added.
Gounder, an infectious disease specialist, shared a statement on Wahl’s Substack on Wednesday, saying “there was nothing nefarious about his death.”
She added that the autopsy revealed “Grant died 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.”
An aortic aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in the aorta, the large artery that carries blood from the heart through the chest and torso, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A rupture, one of the causes of most deaths from aortic aneurysms, occurs when the bulge bursts completely, causing bleeding inside the body.