Grant Wahl, journalist who died at World Cup, suffered aortic aneurysm, wife says

The wife of prominent soccer journalist Grant Wahl said Wednesday that the writer’s death last week while covering the World Cup was caused by an aortic aneurysm.

She ruled out anything suspicious about his death.

“It’s just one of those things that had been likely brewing for years,” Wahl’s wife, Céline Gounder, said during an appearance on “CBS Mornings.”

Wahl, 48, collapsed in his seat Friday while covering the quarterfinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands in Lusail, Qatar. Paramedics, called by other reporters to the scene, attended to him for several minutes.

The US State Department helped to quickly repatriate the body, and the autopsy was performed in the United States.

Wahl had been critical of the Qatari government for its treatment of migrant workers during the construction of stadiums for the tournament. He had also arrived at a stadium earlier in the tournament wearing a rainbow soccer ball T-shirt, in protest of the criminalization of homosexuality in Qatar. He was detained by security and forced to remove the shirt, he wrote in his Substack newsletter.

After Wahl died, his brother, Eric, posted a video to Instagram in which he said Wahl had faced death threats for his coverage and that he believed Wahl had been killed in retaliation.

Wahl spent more than two decades covering American and global soccer for Sports Illustrated and was one of the most prominent journalists covering the sport in the United States. He had recently started his Substack and was covering his eighth men’s World Cup. He wrote last week about struggling with his health and seeking medical treatment for chest pain.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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