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Grant Wahl’s Wife Pens Scathing Op-ed Over Misinformation on Husband’s Cause of Death

Dr. Celine Gounder, the late sports writer Grant Wahl’s wife, is speaking out about her husband’s murder last month in Qatar during the World Cup. Notably, her displeasure with the misinformation propagated.

Gounder, who specializes in medicine, infectious disease, and epidemiology, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times on Sunday about the misinformation that spread in the aftermath of his death and the “vile” hostility she’s seen from online users.

Mia Hamm was ‘heartbroken’ over Grant Wahl’s death, saying, ‘Our game was better because Grant Wahl was in it.’ “On Substack or social media, I did not reply to misinformation or harassment,” Gounder wrote. “I didn’t react to the email: ‘Now you understand you killed your poor husband. Karma is a jerk.’

Throughout the pandemic, I’d gotten similar messages, including rape and death threats, but getting them about Grant was particularly heinous, especially when waves of agony threatened to devour me.”

“However, the dam broke when same disinformation opportunists recently utilized the same strategy to blame Damar Hamlin’s in-game cardiac attack on Covid vaccinations,” she wrote. “I got a feeling I had to write this essay.”

Grant Wahl’s Cause Of Death

Gounder, who was previously named one of PEOPLE’s 25 Women Changing the World in 2017, began her essay by explaining how she found out about her husband’s condition from a longtime friend in ESPN’s Gabriele Marcotti, who explained that colleagues saw Wahl collapse during the Argentina-Netherlands match on December 9.

“As soon as the news broke, rumors and misinformation began circulating,” she wrote. “Amid seemingly unexplainable catastrophes, it’s natural to reach for narratives that can explain how something so startling could happen.

Grant Wahl's Wife Pens Scathing Op-ed Over Misinformation on Husband's Cause of Death

Even those of us who loved Grant were moved by his death. Strangers immediately began blaming Grant’s death on Covid-19 vaccinations, a strategy I’m all too familiar with and a move I refuse to accept.”

According to Gounder, she was aware that “disinformation purveyors” would eventually blame her husband’s death on the Covid-19 vaccination, so she overcame “bureaucratic and logistical difficulties” to have her husband’s autopsy performed.

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When she learned from the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner that his aorta had ruptured, she issued a written statement and scheduled interviews with the New York Times, CBS, NPR, and others to get the truth out. Gounder commented on Wahl’s Substack a few days after his death that her husband died of a “slowly developing, undiscovered” aortic aneurysm.

The medical expert criticized the “disinformation playbook” of “fake experts, logical fallacies, impossible expectations,” and “cherry-picked data and conspiracy theories” in the essay, adding that “not a single qualified medical or public health expert has supported the claim that my husband died from Covid vaccination.”

Gounder also mentioned Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin, who had to be renewed on the field last Monday. Following a heart attack, he was taken to the hospital. When tragedies like his are leveraged for “personal advantage” by those peddling misinformation, she writes, “they re-traumatize families, weakening our ability to interpret information and discern truth from lies, and putting all of us at risk.”

“Grant will be remembered for his warmth, openness, and generosity,” she wrote as the article ended. “His legacy is his determination to seek the truth through reporting, to defend human rights, and to fight for equality.”

“I will continue to respect Grant by adhering to our common beliefs. I’m putting my grief into something constructive: safeguarding the public’s health against those who would profit from others’ pain.”

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