Football journalist Grant Wahl died of a ruptured blood vessel leading from the heart, his family have confirmed following an autopsy this week. The American reporter collapsed suddenly during the Netherlands’ quarter-final defeat to Argentina at the Qatar World Cup.
News of Wahl’s sudden death took the football world by complete surprise last week. The journalist had been tweeting updates from the epic World Cup clash between the Netherlands and Argentina shortly before he collapsed.
Some had initially speculated that foul play could be involved after he drew attention to LGBTQ+ rights and migrant worker deaths during the tournament. However, the autopsy confirmed that an aortic aneurysm was the cause of death, putting an end to any such speculation.
A weakness in the artery can cause it to tear open and, according to The New York Times, Wahl experienced a ‘catastrophic rupture in the ascending aorta’, which carries blood from the heart.
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Wahl had previously drawn attention to incidents in Qatar, including being turned away while wearing a T-shirt donning a rainbow symbol and covering migrant worker deaths. Having been in what appeared to be good health and at 49 years old, Wahl’s brother, Eric, was among those to suggest foul play when the news first broke, although he later retracted the comments.
The American journalist collapsed in the final minutes of Argentina’s penalty-shootout win over the Netherlands and, according to those at the scene, medical professionals spent 20 minutes trying to revive him before he was transported to hospital in Doha, where he was pronounced dead.
“First and foremost, on behalf of myself and our family, I want to express our deepest gratitude for the outpouring of support, love, and sympathy from around the world,” Gounder continued.
“This continues to be a very difficult and painful time as we grieve a beloved husband, brother, and friend. It is some comfort to know that so many people Grant reached—countless colleagues, readers, athletes, coaches, friends, and fans—are grieving alongside us.”