Well-Known Soccer Journalist Grant Wahl Dies After Collapsing While Covering World Cup Match
Well-known soccer journalist Grant Wahl died after collapsing while covering a World Cup game match in Qatar early Saturday. He was 48.
ESPN reports that Wahl was covering Friday’s match between Argentina and the Netherlands. Reporters for outlets seated near Wahl told the outlet that he fell backward in his chair in the press box at Lusail Iconic stadium.
First responders arrived at the scene and worked on the reporter “for about 20-25 minutes.” According to a statement from World Cup organizers, he was brought to Hamad General Hospital.
“We are in touch with the US Embassy and relevant local authorities to ensure the process of repatriating the body is in accordance with the family’s wishes,” the statement read.
Wahl had expressed having health issues last week. On Monday, he wrote on his website that he had sought medical treatment for an illness.
“My body finally broke down on me. Three weeks of little sleep, high stress, and lots of work can do that to you,” he wrote. “What had been a cold over the last 10 days turned into something more severe on the night of the USA-Netherlands game, and I could feel my upper chest take on a new level of pressure and discomfort.”
He wrote that he was given a course of antibiotics and “heavy duty cough syrup” and was already feeling slightly better.
But on his podcast, he revealed he had bronchitis and had made a return trip to the medical clinic. He expressed feeling better, noting that he had napped but was still coughing and hoped not to cough throughout the podcast taping.
Wahl, who was covering his eighth World Cup, made headlines last month when he was briefly detained by security while attending the match between the US and Wales over wearing a rainbow shirt. He said he was wearing the t-shirt in support of LGBTQA+ rights in notoriously conservative Qatar.
He was held for about 25 minutes before being let go by security. Wahl received an apology from FIFA and a senior member of security at the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium, where the incident happened.
He graduated from Princeton in 1996 and worked for Sports Illustrated after graduation until last year. Wahl also worked for Fox sports from 2012 through 2019. Most recently, he worked on his own website, podcast, and newsletter.
Wahl is survived by his wife, Dr. Celine Gounder.