An autopsy conducted by the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office determined that American soccer journalist Grant Wahl died of a burst blood vessel while covering the World Cup in Qatar, according to a note published Wednesday by his wife, Dr. Céline Gounder.
"Grant died from the rupture of a slowly growing, undetected ascending aortic aneurysm with hemopericardium," wrote Gounder, a physician who specializes in infectious disease. "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. His death was unrelated to COVID. His death was unrelated to vaccination status. There was nothing nefarious about his death."
“I really do feel some relief in knowing what it was,” she told the New York Times in an interview. There had been speculation that Wahl's death was connected to his frequent criticism of Qatar, the hosts of this year's World Cup, for the organizers' apathy over migrant worker deaths and the country's poor treatment of the LGBTQ community. At the start of the World Cup, Wahl said stadium officials tried to make him change his rainbow-colored shirt as he arrived for the USMNT-Wales match.
The news broke on Friday when Wahl's brother Eric Wahl posted an Instagram video in which he was distraught and believed that there was foul play involved because of his sibling's World Cup coverage. On Tuesday, Eric said he no longer suspected anything sinister.
Gounder's note can be found here.