Science

Grant Wahl’s wife reveals cause of death in first interview since World Cup death in Qatar

Grant Wahl’s wife, Dr. Celine Gounder, told CBS News on Wednesday that the famed football reporter died of a ruptured aortic aneurysm.

“His autopsy was done in New York by the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office, and it showed he had an aortic aneurysm,” said Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and CBS News contributor.

She told “CBS Mornings” co-host Gayle King in her first interview after her husband’s passing, “It’s one of these things that was likely brewing over the years, and whatever the reason it happened at this time, ” He said.

Wahl died in Qatar on Friday at the age of 49 while covering the World Cup. His agent, Tim Scanlan, said that the journalist “had some kind of intense disturbance in the press room” of the stadium during the quarter-final match between Argentina and the Netherlands, when both teams started to play in extra time. Paramedics were called to the scene, Scanlan said, but they were unable to revive him.

Qatari authorities said in a statement that Wahl “received immediate medical treatment on site, which continued as he was transferred by ambulance to Hamad General Hospital.”

Gounder said she was finishing work Friday when she looked through messages on Twitter, text and email and realized “something was clearly wrong.” She was told that her husband had fainted and after about 20 minutes of CPR, he was taken to the hospital. He tried to track down someone at the hospital to tell them what had happened.

“I kept asking: Does he have a pulse?” he said. “If he had a pulse when he left the stadium, that would have been a good sign, but nobody answers that question. And so for me—I was scared.”

Grant carrier
Grant Wahl is seen at a game between the US Men’s National Team and Ecuador at Rentschler Field on October 10, 2014 in East Hartford, Connecticut.

Fred Kefori III/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images


Gounder tweeted on Friday that she was “completely shocked” by her husband’s death and thanked Wahl’s “football family” and his friends for their support.

Gounder told King, “To know that he was loved by so many people makes me feel so alone.” “It’s like a warm hug when you really need it.”

A prolific journalist, Wahl wrote for several outlets and was a CBS Sports contributor. He was an analyst at CBS Sports Headquarters throughout the Qatar World Cup, and wrote guest columns for CBS Sports focused on the US men’s national team. He was also an editorial consultant for soccer documentaries on Paramount+.

Wahl spoke about his health on his Spotify podcast on Thursday, saying he had contracted bronchitis while covering the World Cup. Scanlan told CBS News that Wahl had an “aggressive schedule” while in Qatar.

Tribute Athletes from LeBron James to Billie Jean King quickly poured in for Wahl after their deaths.

His body was taken to America on Monday.

Gounder said, “I want people to remember him as this kind, generous guy who was really dedicated to social justice.”

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