Dr. Celine Gounder revealed the cause of Wahl’s death in an interview on CBS Mornings.
Gounder shared a statement on Twitter, expressing her and Wahl’s family’s deepest gratitude for the support they had received following Wahl’s unexpected death at the Qatar World Cup.
In the note, Gounder said an autopsy performed by the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office revealed the Wahl “died from the rupture of a slowly growing, undetected ascending aortic aneurysm with hemopericardium.”
“The chest pressure he experienced shortly before his death may have represented the initial symptoms,” she continued. “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.”
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 at the time of his death.
Wahl, who had complained of respiratory problems earlier in the week and had been treated for a possible case of bronchitis, fell back in his seat in a section of Lusail Stadium reserved for journalists during extra time of the game, and reporters adjacent to him called for assistance.
Emergency services workers responded very quickly, treated him for 20 or 30 minutes on site and then took him out on a stretcher. The World Cup organizing committee said he was taken to Doha’s Hamad General Hospital, but it did not state a cause of death.
Wahl wrote for Sports Illustrated for more than two decades and then started his own website. He was a major voice informing the American public of soccer during a time of increased interest after the United States hosted the 1994 World Cup.
Gounder completed her note, saying that a memorial service to celebrate Wahl’s life is being planned and details will be forthcoming.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.