The recent death of American soccer writer Grant Wahl sent shock waves through the sport. Wahl, 49, collapsed during the Argentina versus Netherlands World Cup quarterfinal match on Friday. The journalist’s wife, Celine Gounder, revealed on Wednesday that her husband suffered from an ascending aortic aneurysm.

“An autopsy was performed by the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office,” Gounder wrote on Grant’s website. “Grant 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.”

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

Grant Wahl death brings end to historic, celebrated career

Wahl began his journalism career at Sports Illustrated directly after a college internship at the Miami Herald. The writer quickly rose through the ranks to become on of the most respected soccer journalists in the country. However, he did not always mainly focus on soccer.

In one of his breakout moments as a journalist, Wahl did a cover story on a then teenage basketball prodigy named Lebron James. Not only was the story enthralling, but the Sports Illustrated cover became one of the most famous in the publication’s history. The writer and athlete stayed in touch since the article was written 20 years ago.

In 2009, Wahl essentially solely focused on soccer. He became a mainstay with both the United States men’s and women’s national teams from this point on. The journalist also penned a New York Times Best Seller about David Beckham’s move to L.A. Galaxy in 2007.

Following his death, World Cup organizers displayed Wahl’s photo on the video screens inside Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar prior to the France and England quarterfinal game. Flowers were also placed at the writer’s typical place in the stadium. The CDC said that Wahl’s particular condition caused the deaths of about 10,000 people in 2019.