American journalist Grant Wahl, who died in Qatar, had ruptured a blood vessel, says his wife

collapsed in the stadium press area while covering the game between Argentina and the Netherlands in the Qatar 2022 World Cup quarter-final football match between England and France at Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha, on December 10, 2022

A giant screen displays a photo of American journalist Grant Wahl who died after collapsing in the stadium’s press area while covering the match between Argentina and the Netherlands in the quarter-final football match of the Qatar 2022 World Cup between England and France on December 10, 2022. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

Grant Wahl, a top American sports reporter who died suddenly while covering the World Cup in Qatar, suffered a fatal rupture of the aorta, the main blood vessel from the heart, his wife announced on Wednesday.

“There was nothing nefarious about his death,” said Celine Gounder, a renowned epidemiologist, dismissing speculation on social media that Wahl’s death was the result of foul play or vaccination against the COVID.

In a post on Wahl’s Substack page, Gounder said an autopsy performed in New York revealed that Wahl, 49, died of a ruptured “ascending aortic aneurysm.” slow growing and undetected”.

An aortic aneurysm is a rupture of the aorta, the main blood vessel carrying blood away from the heart.

“The chest pressure he experienced shortly before his death may have represented the earliest symptoms,” Gounder said. “No amount of CPR or shocks would have saved him.”

“His death was unrelated to COVID,” she said. “His death was unrelated to vaccination status.”

Wahl collapsed while covering the quarter-final between Argentina and the Netherlands on Friday.

He had complained on his Substack about feeling unwell the week before he died.

A few days earlier, Wahl had had a run-in with Qatar World Cup organizers over a rainbow LGBTQ jersey he wore to a game. Qatar criminalizes homosexuality and Wahl said security guards told him the shirt was “political”.

Wahl, who was covering his eighth World Cup, helped boost the popularity of football in the United States through his reporting for Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports and other outlets.

Wahl joined Sports Illustrated, then America’s leading sports publication, in 1996 to report on football. He remained at the magazine until 2020, joining CBS Sports a year later.

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