Grant Wahl was a highly respected American soccer journalist who died while covering the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. According to his wife, he suffered from an ascending aortic aneurysm with hemopericardium.
Aneurysms are essential bulges in the wall of an artery, which can grow over time if they’re not detected and treated early. When they rupture, hemopericardium (blood around the heart) can occur, leading to cardiac arrest and often death.
Most ascending aortic aneurysms occur in men over 65 years old, but younger people like Wahl aren’t immune – especially if undetected warning signs go ignored.
Ascending aortic aneurysms are rare and often go undetected until they rupture. When they rupture, there is usually significant bleeding into the chest cavity, which can lead to cardiac tamponade (when blood pressure within the heart becomes so high that fluid seeps into the sac surrounding the heart muscle) and, ultimately, death.
While tragic, Wahl’s story serves as a reminder of just how important it is to get regular check-ups from your doctor – especially if you have any risk factors for developing this type of aneurysms, such as high blood pressure or older age.
According to his wife, Celine Gounder, Wahl died of a “slowly growing, undetected” aneurysm. Although he was only 48 at the time of his death, Wahl had led a whole and accomplished life, making his sudden passing all the more tragic.
Although his death shocked many, it is essential to remember all that he accomplished in life – including his wife, Dr. Celine Gounder, who has continued his legacy by becoming one of America’s leading public health experts.
He had an autopsy done here in New York by the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office, and it showed that he had an aortic aneurysm that ruptured,” Gounder told CBS News on Thursday.
During his coverage of the Argentina-Netherlands quarterfinal in Qatar 2022, Wahl “felt ill,” according to a spokeswoman for the Qatari World Cup organizing committee who spoke to Fox News. He was transported to Hamad General Hospital after paramedics performed CPR on him for several minutes at the scene.
“The chest pressure he experienced shortly before his death may have represented the initial symptoms,” Grounder wrote on Wahl’s website. “No amount of CPR or shocks would have saved him. His death was unrelated to COVID. His death was unrelated to vaccination status. There was nothing nefarious about his death.”
“I kept on asking: did he have a pulse?” said Gounder. “If he had a pulse when he left the stadium that would have been a good sign, but no one would answer the question. And so to me – I was scared.”
“It’s just one of these things that had been likely brewing for years, and for whatever reason it happened at this point in time,” Grounder added.
“My body finally broke down on me. Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and lots of work can do that to you,” Wahl penned on Dec.5. “What had been a cold over the last 10 days turned into something more severe on the night of the USA-Netherlands game, and I could feel my upper chest take on a new level of pressure and discomfort.”
Wahl reported having a COVID-19 test that came out negative and getting medical attention for his issues.
“I went into the medical clinic at the main media center today, and they said I probably have bronchitis. They gave me a course of antibiotics and some heavy-duty cough syrup, and I’m already feeling a bit better just a few hours later. But still: No Bueno,” he wrote.
According to his brother Eric Wahl, he was killed, who initially speculated that it might have been because he had previously worn a rainbow-colored shirt to a game.
On Tuesday, Eric Wahl denied the accusations of wrongdoing.
“As soon as I heard about his death, the first thing I thought was that he had been murdered,” Eric Wahl said. “I based it on things G said the last two times I talked to him. But obviously I don’t know anything for sure.”