Grant Wahl died suddenly while covering the World Cup in Qatar last week, the Conservative Brief reported. Now the wife of the 48-year-old sports reporter revealed his death was caused by an aortic aneurysm.
"It's just one of those things that had been likely brewing for years," wife Céline Gounder told "CBS Mornings" Wednesday. "I really do feel some relief in knowing what it was."
Gounder, who is also an epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist at New York University, explained more about his condition in a Substack post. "Grant died from the rupture of a slowly growing, undetected ascending aortic aneurysm with hemopericardium," she said.
"The chest pressure he experienced shortly before his death may have represented the initial symptoms. No amount of CPR or shocks would have saved him," she added.
"His death was unrelated to COVID. His death was unrelated to vaccination status. There was nothing nefarious about his death," Gounder added.
During the World Cup's quarterfinal match in Lusain, Qatar, on Dec. 10, Wahl collapsed in his chair. First responders were already on the scene at the match between the Netherlands and Argentina.
Medical personnel worked on reviving Wahl for a number of minutes to no avail. His body was sent back to the U.S. for an autopsy that would ultimately solve the medical mystery.
However, rumors of foul play circulated immediately following news of his death. Brother Eric Wahl added fuel to the fire when he posted his theory to Instagram, according to Fox News.
"I am gay. I am the reason he wore the rainbow shirt to the World Cup," Eric Wahl wrote.
Grant Wahl was detained while attempting to enter the venue while wearing a shirt emblazed with a soccer ball encircled by a Pride rainbow. He said in a Substack post that it was a commentary on Qatar's practice of criminalizing homosexuality.
The sports journalist was forced to remove it before entering. Grant Wahl was also outspoken about the government's mistreatment of construction workers who built the tournament venue, a fact that worried his family.
"My brother was healthy. He told me he received death threats," Eric Wahl added.
"I do not believe my brother just died. I believe he was killed, and I'm just begging for any help." Eric Wahl has since walked back that statement.
Cardiac events can strike just about anyone, though they used to be rare. Wahl's death is a tragedy to the people who loved him and the sport he covered.