Wahl, 49, was covering the Argentina-Netherlands quarterfinal match Friday when he “fell ill” and was tended to on-site by paramedics and taken to a hospital, Qatar officials said last week. He was pronounced dead shortly after.
His body arrived in New York City on Monday and was transferred to the local medical examiner’s office.
Wahl’s wife, Dr. Céline Gounder, revealed the cause of his death on “CBS Mornings” Wednesday.
“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,” she said on the show.
“It’s just one of those things that had been likely brewing for years,” she added.
Gounder shared a statement on Wahl’s Substack Wednesday, saying “there was nothing nefarious about his death.”
The Monday before his collapse, Wahl posted to his website to share that he had been feeling ill and that local medical personnel told him he likely had bronchitis. He was given antibiotics, he said.
“My body finally broke down on me,” he wrote. “Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and lots of work can do that to you. 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.”
Gounder tweeted late Friday that the news of his death came as a “complete shock.”
Wahl’s brother initially cast doubt that the illness played a role in his sudden death, citing recent threats Wahl had received as reason to be skeptical. He said Wahl told him he got death threats after he refused to remove a T-shirt with a rainbow logo that signified solidarity with LGBTQ rights.
Wahl had shared in an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that he was held for more than 30 minutes, refusing to remove the shirt, until a security commander came to release him and shook his hand. Same-sex relations are illegal in Qatar.
“There’s enough that I know in my conversations with Grant to make me legitimately suspicious, if nothing else,” Eric Wahl told the Kansas City Star over the weekend. “That’s why we want transparency.”
But Eric Wahl retracted his former suspicion upon news of the initial examination of his brother’s body.