Grant Wahl’s Cause Of Death: Family Reveals How Journalist Died While Covering World Cup

After the shocking death of Grant Wahl, the family of the beloved soccer journalist revealed what killed him as he covered the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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Grant Wahl died due to a rupture in a blood vessel leading to his heart, the family of the late soccer journalist announced on Wednesday (Dec. 14), per The New York Times. Grant, 49, passed away on Dec. 09 in Qatar from an aneurysm, “a catastrophic rupture in the ascending aorta, which carries oxygenated blood from the heart,” according to an autopsy conducted in New York. While covering the 2022 World Cup, Wahl had been sick with a cold for several days before collapsing, but the cold symptoms were likely unrelated to the aneurysm that killed him, according to his wife, Dr. Celine Gounder.

The autopsy found that Grant Wahl had “an ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm, a weakening of the blood vessel that often goes undetected.” As the aneurysm grows, it may produce a cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain – which might have contributed to Wahl’s cold and possible bronchitis in Qatar. Doctors are now investigating if Wahl had Marfan Syndrome, a “genetic condition that affects connective tissue, which provides support for the body and organs,” per the CDC. Grant was tall and had long limbs, which could be a sign of the syndrome.

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Grant was in the press box for the quarterfinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands when he collapsed. Medical personnel tried to revive him for twenty minutes before he was transported to a hospital in Doha, where he was pronounced dead.

Dr. Gounder said in a Tuesday interview that her husband died instantly and didn’t feel any pain. “I really do feel some relief in knowing what it was,” she said. Dr. Gounder was also quick to shut down any speculation that Wahl’s death was due to the COVID vaccine – something she found insulting due to her work as one of the nation’s leading infectious disease physicians. Dr. Gounder rose to prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic and advised President Joe Biden’s transition team on the disease when he took office. “I wanted to make sure the conspiracy theories about his death were put to rest,” she said.


Grant’s brother, Erich Wahl, initially speculated on social media that foul play might have been involved or that Grant died from a blood clot in his lungs. Following the autopsy, Eric said he no longer believed those contributed to his brother’s death.

Joining Sports Illustrated in 1996 as a fact checker, Grant Wahl worked his way through the sports writing world. He became known for writing about soccer, a beat he first began while working as a student reporter at Princeton University in the 1990s. His work spotlighted the growth of women’s soccer, the corruption associated with the sport, human rights violations, and gay rights.

SI ultimately fired him over a pandemic-related pay cut, but Wahl went independent, starting a successful newsletter and podcast. His death was mourned by the sports world, with many paying tribute to a man whose passion for sports came through in his writing.

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