Grant Wahl's wife says "there was nothing nefarious" about the soccer journalist's death ... explaining on Wednesday that the 49-year-old died from a ruptured aortic aneurysm.
Dr. Celine Gounder -- an infectious disease expert and Wahl's wife since 2001 -- told CBS News in a sit-down interview that Wahl's dire condition "had likely been brewing for years."
"And for whatever reason," she said, "it happened at this point in time."
Wahl suffered a medical episode on Friday night -- while in Qatar covering Argentina vs. Netherlands World Cup game. Officials said he had collapsed in the stadium press room ... and later died.
His brother, Eric, said he suspected foul play was involved -- particularly after Wahl had been receiving threats over his open support of the LGBTQ+ community in the foreign country.
"I do not believe my brother just died," Eric said. "I believe he was killed."
Gounder, though, said Wahl -- whose body was repatriated to the U.S. on Monday -- underwent an autopsy in New York this week ... and "it showed that he had an aortic aneurysm that ruptured."
She added in a statement Wednesday, "No amount of CPR or shocks would have saved him. His death was unrelated to COVID. His death was unrelated to vaccination status."
Gounder said she wanted people to remember her late husband as a "kind, generous person who was really dedicated to social justice."
"That was Grant," she said. "That was Grant."