American journalist Grant Wahl dies after collapsing at Qatar World Cup


Prominent American journalist Grant Wall died in Qatar after collapsing While covering the World Cup, sparking an outpouring of shock and grief across the sports world.

He “collapsed” while covering Friday’s Argentina-Netherlands match, a witness told CNN.

Qatar’s World Cup organizers said on Saturday that Wahl “fell ill” in the press area, where he received “immediate on-site medical treatment.” He was then transferred to Hamad General Hospital, said a spokesperson for the Supreme Court Committee on Delivery and Legacy, the body responsible for planning the tournament.

The circumstances surrounding his death are not clear.

Grant Wahl, pictured on October 10, 2014.

“The entire USA Soccer family is heartbroken to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl,” said USA Soccer.

“Grant made soccer his life’s work, and we are devastated that he and his brilliant writing will no longer be with us.”

Soccer praised Wahl’s passion and “belief in the power of the game to promote human rights,” and shared its condolences with Wahl’s wife, Celine Gounder, and his loved ones.

Gounder also posted the U.S. it. Soccer statement on Twitter.

“I am so grateful for the support of my husband Grant Wall’s football family and of so many friends who reached out that night. I am in complete shock,” wrote Gounder, a former CNN contributor who served on the Biden-Harris Transition Covid-19 Advisory Board.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the department was in “close communication” with Wahl’s family. The World Cup organizers also said they are in contact with the US Embassy “to ensure that the process of repatriating the body is in accordance with the family’s wishes.”

Wahl has covered soccer for more than two decades, including 11 World Cups, and authored several books about the sport, according to his website.

He just celebrated his birthday earlier this week with “a great group of media friends at the World Cup,” according to a post on his official Twitter account, which added: “Very grateful for everyone.”

In an episode of the podcast Futbol with Grant Wahl, published days before his death on December 6, he complained of feeling bad.

“It was pretty bad in terms of like the tightness in my chest, tightness, pressure. Feeling pretty hairy, bad,” Wahl told co-host Chris Wittingham in the episode. He added that he sought help at the medical clinic at the World Cup media center, believing he had bronchitis.

He was given cough syrup and ibuprofen, and felt better soon after, he said.

Wahl also said he experienced an “involuntary capitulation of my body and mind” after the U-Netherlands game on December 3.

“This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve done eight of those on the men’s side,” he said at the time. “And like, I’m sick to some extent at every tournament, and it’s just about trying to find a way to get your job done.”

He further described the incident in a recent newsletter published on December 5, writing that his body had “broken down” after he had little sleep, high stress and a heavy workload. He had a cold for 10 days, which “turned into something more severe,” he wrote, adding that he felt better after receiving antibiotics and waking up from sleep.

Wahl made headlines in November by reporting that he was detained and briefly denied entry to a World Cup match because he was wearing a rainbow t-shirt in support of LGBTQ rights.

He said security staff told him to change his shirt because “it’s not allowed,” and took his phone. Wahl said he was released 25 minutes after being detained and received an apology from a FIFA representative and a senior member of the security team at the stadium.

Afterward, Wahl told CNN that he “probably will” wear the shirt again.

Wahl’s death sent shockwaves through the soccer and sports journalism community, with many sharing tributes on social media.

“Just a few days ago, Grant was recognized by FIFA and AIPS (the International Sports Press Association) for his contribution to reporting on eight consecutive FIFA World Cups,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino in a statement.

The co-editor at Sports Illustrated, the publication where Wahl spent the majority of his career, said in a joint statement that they were “shocked and devastated by the news of Grant’s passing.”

“We’re proud to call him a colleague and friend for two decades — no writer in (Sports Illustrated) history has been more passionate about the sports he loved and the stories he wanted to tell,” said the Explanation.

It added that Wahl first joined the publication in November 1996. He volunteered to cover the sport as a junior reporter – back before it reached the heights of global popularity it now enjoys – eventually becoming “one of the Most respected soccer authorities in the world,” it said.

The statement said Wahl also worked with other media outlets including Fox Sports. After leaving Sports Illustrated in 2020, he started publishing his podcast and newsletter.

On Friday in Philadelphia, basketball star LeBron James said he was “very fond of Grant.” While Wahl was at Sports Illustrated, he did a cover story on James when James was in high school.

“I always watched from a distance even when I moved up the ranks and became a professional, and he went to a different sport,” said James, speaking in a postgame press conference. “Every time his name would come up, I’d always think back to me being a teenager and having Grant in our building… It’s a tragic loss.”

Other current and former US it. Soccer players, including Ali Krieger and Tony Meola, shared their condolences, as did sporting bodies such as Major League Soccer and the National Women’s Soccer League.

Wittingham, Wahl’s podcast co-host, told CNN on Saturday the news of his death was hard to come by.

“For Americans, Grant Wahl is the first person you read covering soccer. He was kind of the only person for a while … Grant was the first person who really paid genuine attention to the sport in a meaningful way,” Whittingham said.

Several journalists have shared stories of reporting alongside Wahl, and having encountered him at multiple World Cups over the years.

“Before he became the best covering football, he played hoops and was so good to me,” wrote famed broadcaster Dick Vitale.

Timmy T. Davis, the US


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