An American sports journalist died of an aortic aneurysm while covering the World Cup in Qatar, his widow has said.
Grant Wahl, 48, a former Sports Illustrated reporter who later joined podcast publishers, Substack, died while covering the match between Argentina and the Netherlands.
In a written statement, his widow, Dr Celine Gounder, said: ‘Grant died of the rupture of a slowly growing, undetected ascending aortic aneurysm with hemopericardium.
An aortic aneurysm is a bulge or swelling in the aorta, the main blood vessel that runs from the heart through the chest and stomach, according to the NHS. It can be dangerous if not caught early and can grow larger over time and eventually burst, causing life-threatening bleeding.
“First and foremost, on behalf of myself and our family, I would like to express our deepest gratitude for the outpouring of support, love and sympathy from around the world,” Dr Gounder wrote.
Mr Wahl, who had moved to online publishing platform Substack, had tweeted about the Netherlands-Argentina game on Friday when he collapsed.
His agent said earlier that he appeared to be in some sort of acute distress during the quarter-final match.
American journalists seated next to Mr Wahl said he fell back into his seat during extra time, in a part of the stadium reserved for journalists.
They had called for help and, while the emergency services responded very quickly, they were later told that Mr Wahl had died.
Last week, Mr Wahl wrote that he visited a hospital in Qatar and was told by health officials he likely had bronchitis.
His body was flown back to the United States on Monday, where the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy.
“While the world knew Grant as a great journalist, we knew him as a man who approached the world with openness and love,” Dr Gounder wrote.
“Grant was an incredibly empathetic, dedicated and loving husband, brother, uncle and son who was our biggest teammate and fan. We will forever cherish the gift of his life.”
She added, “No amount of CPR or (defibrillator) shocks would have saved him,” Gounder said Wednesday.
Mr Wahl said last month he was briefly detained when he tried to enter a World Cup stadium in Qatar while wearing a rainbow shirt in support of the LGBTQ community .
Same-sex relationships are illegal in Qatar.
Detained for wearing a rainbow shirt
He said on Twitter that he was detained for 25 minutes for wearing the shirt, with security guards “forcibly” taking his phone and demanding he remove the shirt before entering the stadium.
He said he refused.
Mr. Wahl also wrote on Monday that he had visited a hospital in Qatarsaying, “My body finally crumbled on me – three weeks of little sleep, high stress and a lot of work can do this to you.”