Grant Wahl, a top US sports reporter, died suddenly while covering the World Cup in Qatar from a ruptured aorta, the main blood vessel leading to the heart, his wife said on Wednesday.
Renowned epidemiologist Celine Gounder dismissed speculation on social media that Wahl’s death was the result of foul play or COVID vaccination: “There was nothing nefarious about his death. .
In an announcement posted on Wahl’s Substack page, Gounder said an autopsy performed in New York revealed that Wahl, 49, had died from rupture of an “undetected, ascending aortic aneurysm.” .
An aortic aneurysm is a rupture of the aorta, the main blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart.
“The pressure in the chest he experienced just before his death may have been the initial symptom,” Gounder said. “No CPR or electric shock could save him.”
“His death was unrelated to COVID,” she said. “His death was not related to vaccination status.”
Wahl collapsed while covering the quarter-final match between Argentina and the Netherlands on Friday.
He complained on his Substack about feeling bad the week before his death.
A few days earlier, Wahl had clashed with Qatar’s World Cup organizers over the rainbow LGBTQ shirt he wore during a match. Qatar criminalizes homosexuality and Wahl said security guards told him the shirt was “political”.
Wahl, who is covering his eighth World Cup, has helped build the popularity of football in the United States through his coverage of Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports and other media.
Wahl joined Sports Illustrated, then America’s leading sports publication, in 1996 to cover football. He stayed with the magazine until 2020, joining CBS Sports a year later.
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