Grant Wahl’s family reveals possible cause of death at World Cup

The brother of influential US soccer journalist Grant Wahl, who died while covering the World Cup in Qatar on Friday, says he no longer suspects foul play in his sibling’s death.

Grant Wahl, 49, had a “death rattle cough” from a stubborn case of bronchitis shortly before he collapsed while covering Argentina’s quarter-final win against the Netherlands, his brother Eric Wahl said.

Eric previously speculated foul play may have been involved since the soccer writer was an outspoken critic of the Qatari government and received death threats after wearing a rainbow shirt to a match.

But Tuesday, the brother wrote on Twitter, “The family will release a statement as to cause of death soon. I no longer suspect foul play. It was not [pulmonary embolism].”

Grant Wahl suddenly collapsed Friday while covering the quarter-final game between Argentina and the Netherlands.
PA
Eric and Grant Wahl
Eric Wahl (right) has been outspoken about theories related to his brother’s sudden death Friday at the World Cup in Qatar.
Twitter / @ziplamak
Grant Wahl
Wahl was an outspoken critic of the Qatari government and received death threats after wearing a rainbow shirt to a match.
Getty Images

Eric backtracked on an earlier tweet from Monday in which he said, “It seems possible Grant experienced a pulmonary embolism & was in non-shockable state.”

He also claimed there was no portable defibrillator in the stadium but then Monday issued a correction on Twitter, writing that “per a US gov official, FIFA is saying AEDs were available at the stadium,” referring to the devices.

It’s unclear why a defibrillator was not used on Wahl.

Grant Wahl
Grant reportedly wore the rainbow shirt to the World Cup games in support of his brother Eric, who is gay.
Grant Wahl via REUTERS
Eric Wahl on Instagram
Eric Wahl has provided updates following his brother’s sudden death to his social media accounts, though he put his Instagram on private after questioning whether foul play was involved.
eewahl/Instagram

Grant Wahl’s body was brought to New York City on Monday for an independent autopsy. His widow, Dr. Céline Gounder, an infectious-disease physician who works at Bellevue Hospital, brought his body to a city medical examiner Monday.

On Monday, Eric shared an update on the situation, writing: “We are traveling with Grant’s body to the medical examination & autopsy.”

He added: “Thank you to American Airlines for their incredible help. Thank you to the NY Port Authority & the US government. Humble.”

Grant Wahl made headlines at the World Cup when he was initially not allowed to enter the stadium because he was wearing a shirt with a soccer ball surrounded by a rainbow in support of the LGBTQ+ community before a US and Wales game.

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