Grant Wahl’s widow posts a heartbreaking letter about his death

Grant Wahl, the well-known and respected soccer reporter, died as a result of a rupture to an undetected ascending aortic aneurysm, his widow posted on his popular Substack Wednesday.

An autopsy performed by the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office, after Wahl’s body returned the U.S. on Dec. 12, determined that Wahl’s unexpected passing during the World Cup earlier this month was something that could not have been stopped by medical officials on site.

“No amount of CPR or shocks would have saved him,” wrote Celine Gounder, Wahl’s widow. “His death was unrelated to COVID. His death was unrelated to vaccination status. There was nothing nefarious about his death.”

Beyond updating fans about his cause of death, Gounder offered a loving tribute to her husband, praising his empathy, kindness and curiosity.

“Grant curated friends from all cultures and walks of life, for whom he was a generous listener, an enthusiast, a champion of others,” she wrote. “To know Grant was to know a true renaissance man; he was endlessly curious about the world.”

It was, however, his infinite love for his family and friends that struck the deepest nerve. She talked about his support for her career as an infectious disease specialist and CBS News contributor.

“Grant knew when someone was in crisis and he needed to drop everything to be there for them—be that his family or mine,” she wrote. “My little sister Stephanie was eight when she met Grant and can barely remember a time when he wasn’t part of the family. The first time they met, they spent hours playing chess.”

Wahl, an American journalist who helped grow the popularity of soccer in the United States and reported on some of the biggest stories in the sport, was 49.

Tributes to Wahl have poured in since his death and on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken added his voice to the collection, saying on Twitter “I so appreciated Grant Wahl, whose writing captured not only the essence of the beautiful game but also the world around it.”

A memorial service for Wahl is being planned, with details to come later.

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