Grant Wahl's Brother Says They 'No Longer Suspect Foul Play,' Will Release Cause of Death Soon

Eric Wahl had previously linked the journalist's death to an incident in which Grant had been detained by Qatari authorities for wearing a "rainbow shirt"

Grant Wahl's brother says his family no longer suspects foul play in connection with the journalist's death.

"The family will release a statement as to cause of death soon," Eric Wahl wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning. "I no longer suspect foul play. It was not PE [pulmonary embolism]."

In the immediate aftermath of Grant's death on Friday, Eric had said he believed his brother "was killed." Grant was an award-winning sports journalist, who had dedicated significant coverage to the migrant deaths at the FIFA World Cup, and earlier in the tournament had been detained for wearing a rainbow shirt into a match.

"My name is Eric Wahl. I live in Seattle, Washington, I am Grant Wahl's brother," Eric said in a video announcing his brother's death on Twitter Friday. "I am gay, I am the reason he wore the rainbow shirt to the World Cup. My brother was healthy, he told me he received death threats. I do not believe my brother just died. I believe he was killed, and I just beg for any help."

In the days since, Eric has kept people up to date as he and their family, including Grant's wife, Dr. Céline Gounder, learned more about his death.

Grant wahl
Grant Wahl.

In a tweet on Monday, Eric wrote that he thought Grant, who had turned 48 days before his death, may have experienced a pulmonary embolism — a blood clot, which cannot be stopped with a defibrillator or CPR — when he collapsed in the press box last week.

"It seems possible Grant experienced a pulmonary embolism & was in a non-shockable state," Eric wrote on Monday.

Joel Glancy, a special correspondent for The Sunday Times who was at the scene, said that a defibrillator was not nearby when Wahl suffered a medical emergency during a match between Argentina and Netherlands at Lusail Iconic Stadium on Friday.

October 10, 2014: Grant Wahl. The Men's National Team of the United States and the Men's National Team of Ecuador played to a 1-1 draw in an international friendly at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty

"Why wasn't there a defibrillator? That was the question we kept asking each other, as the medics pumped and pumped to no avail," Glancy wrote, noting that Wahl had been receiving CPR for several minutes after an unexpected medical issue. "At this billion-dollar state-of-the-art stadium, which has a VIP suite so lavish it includes a bedroom, which will host the World Cup final, why was there no defibrillator to hand? Many minutes passed, and we kept expecting it to come. But it never did."

Grant himself said on his podcast earlier in the week that he had come down with "a case of bronchitis."

"My body told me, even after the U.S. went out, 'Dude, you are not sleeping enough,' and it rebelled on me. So I've had a case of bronchitis this week," he said. "I've been to the medical clinic at the media center twice now, including today. I'm feeling better today, I basically canceled everything on this Thursday, that I had, and napped."

celine gounder, grant wahl
Grant Wahl and Céline Gounder. celine gounder/twitter

While Grant said at the time he was doing "slightly better," he added that he was not "100 percent" as he prepared to attend the Friday match.

"Hopefully I will not cough during this podcast," Grant said. "I'm coughing a lot. Everyone's coughing here. This is by no means limited to me. So many journalists have got a crazy cough that sounds like a death rattle sometimes. The only thing that's surprising to me is, there isn't that much COVID here. I thought there'd be a real issue with that. We're not really seeing COVID cases, we're just seeing a lot of general sickness — coughing, colds. And I can't wait to be on the other side of what I have, but I'm going to be ready to go."

Eric also apologized Monday night for initially saying Grant's death was the result of foul play.

"I apologize unequivocally. But my initial statement stemmed from 2 things, neither of which related to racism: concerning things Grant told me, and well-known corruption," he tweeted.

On Monday, the U.S. State Department confirmed that Grant's body had returned to the U.S. from Qatar. Eric said that the family would be taking it for a "medical examination" and "autopsy."

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