Aortic aneurysm killed soccer journalist Grant Wahl at World Cup

Grant Wahl, the American soccer reporter who collapsed and died while covering the World Cup in Qatar last week, died of an aortic aneurysm that ruptured, his wife, Dr. Celine Gounder, said Wednesday.

“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,” Gounder said on “CBS This Morning.”

She said the tributes to her late husband are touching and bring her comfort.

“He was so loved by so many people,” she said, and hearing the outpouring “is like a warm hug when you really need it.”

Wahl, a longtime college basketball and soccer reporter for Sports Illustrated and for his own newsletter, collapsed while covering Friday’s Argentina-Netherlands match and was later declared dead. He was 49.

He had covered soccer for more than two decades, including 11 World Cups – six men’s, five women’s — and authored several books on the sport, according to his website.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an aortic aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in the aorta — the large artery that carries blood from the heart to the chest. A rupture is caused when the force of blood pumping can split the layers of the artery wall allowing blood to leak. In a rupture, the aneurysm bursts completely, causing bleeding inside the body.

The CDC says aortic aneurysms or dissections caused about 10,000 deaths in 2019. About 59% of those deaths were among men.

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