Grant Wahl: American journalist dies after collapsing at Qatar World Cup

Grant Wahl: American journalist dies after collapsing at Qatar World Cup


Wahl, 49, died after collapsing whereas overlaying Friday’s Argentina-Netherlands match. The circumstances round his loss of life are unclear.

He “collapsed” whereas overlaying Friday’s Argentina-Netherlands match, a witness instructed CNN.

Qatar’s World Cup organizers mentioned on Saturday that Wahl “fell unwell” within the press space, the place he obtained “instant medical therapy on website.” He was then transferred to Hamad Normal Hospital, mentioned a spokesperson for the Supreme Court docket Committee for Supply and Legacy, the physique chargeable for planning the event.

Grant Wahl: American journalist dies after collapsing at Qatar World Cup

He was handled within the stadium “for about 20-25 minutes” earlier than he was moved to the hospital, Keir Radnedge, a columnist at World Soccer Journal, instructed CNN Saturday.

“This was in the direction of the top of additional time within the match. All of a sudden, colleagues as much as my left began shouting for medical help. Clearly, somebody had collapsed. As a result of the chairs are freestanding, individuals have been in a position to transfer the chairs, so it’s doable to create a little bit little bit of house round him,” Radnedge mentioned.

He added that the medical workforce have been there “fairly rapidly and have been in a position to, as greatest they might, give therapy.”

The circumstances round his loss of life will not be clear.

“The complete US Soccer household is heartbroken to be taught that we’ve got misplaced Grant Wahl,” US Soccer mentioned in a press release on its official Twitter account.

“Grant made soccer his life’s work, and we’re devastated that he and his sensible writing will not be with us.”

US Soccer praised Wahl’s ardour and “perception within the energy of the sport to advance human rights,” and shared its condolences with Wahl’s spouse and his family members.

Gounder additionally posted the US Soccer assertion on Twitter.

“I’m so grateful for the assist of my husband Grant Wahl’s soccer household and of so many mates who’ve reached out tonight. I’m in full shock,” wrote Gounder, a former CNN contributor who served on the Biden-Harris transition Covid-19 advisory board.

US State Division spokesperson Ned Worth mentioned the division was in “shut communication” with Wahl’s household. The World Cup organizers additionally mentioned they have been in contact with the US embassy “to make sure the method of repatriating the physique is in accordance with the household’s needs.”

Wahl wearing a rainbow-colored t-shirt while working at Qatar 2022.

Wahl had coated soccer for greater than 20 years, together with 11 World Cups — six males’s, 5 ladies’s – and authored a number of books on the game, in line with his web site.

He had simply celebrated his birthday earlier this week with “an important group of media mates on the World Cup,” in line with a put up on his official Twitter account, which added: “Very grateful for everybody.”

In an episode of the podcast Futbol with Grant Wahl, revealed days earlier than his loss of life on December 6, he had complained of feeling unwell.

“It had gotten fairly unhealthy when it comes to just like the tightness in my chest, tightness, stress. Feeling fairly bushy, unhealthy,” Wahl instructed co-host Chris Wittyngham within the episode. He added that he sought assist on the medical clinic on the World Cup media middle, believing he had bronchitis.

He was given cough syrup and ibuprofen, and felt higher shortly afterward, he mentioned.

Wahl additionally mentioned he skilled an “involuntary capitulation by my physique and thoughts” after the US-Netherlands sport on December 3.

“This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve accomplished eight of those on the boys’s facet,” he mentioned on the time. “And so like, I’ve gotten sick to some extent at each event, and it’s nearly looking for a approach to like get your work accomplished.”

He additional described the incident in a latest publication revealed on December 5, writing that his physique had “broke down” after he had little sleep, excessive stress and a heavy workload. He’d had a chilly for 10 days, which “became one thing extra extreme,” he wrote, including that he felt higher after receiving antibiotics and catching up on sleep.

Wahl had made headlines in November by reporting that he was detained and briefly refused entry to a World Cup match as a result of he was sporting a rainbow t-shirt in assist of LGBTQ rights.

He mentioned safety employees had instructed him to vary his shirt as a result of “it’s not allowed,” and had taken his telephone. Wahl mentioned he was launched 25 minutes after being detained and obtained apologies from a FIFA consultant and a senior member of the safety workforce on the stadium.

Afterward, Wahl instructed CNN he “most likely will” put on the shirt once more.

Wahl’s loss of life has despatched shockwaves via the soccer and sports activities journalism neighborhood, with many sharing tributes on social media.

“Just some days in the past, Grant was acknowledged by FIFA and AIPS (the Worldwide Sports activities Press Affiliation) for his contribution to reporting on eight consecutive FIFA World Cups,” mentioned FIFA President Gianni Infantino in a press release.

Infantino and FIFA media director Bryan Swanson have been on the hospital on Saturday to supply any type of assist wanted for the household, mates, and the journalists who have been additionally his housemates in Qatar.

The co-editors in chief of Sports activities Illustrated, the publication the place Wahl spent nearly all of his profession, mentioned in a joint assertion they have been “shocked and devastated on the information of Grant’s passing.”

Wahl at an awards ceremony in Doha, Qatar, in November this year.

“We have been proud to name him a colleague and good friend for 20 years – no author within the historical past of (Sports activities Illustrated) has been extra passionate concerning the sport he cherished and the tales he wished to inform,” mentioned the assertion.

It added that Wahl had first joined the publication in November 1996. He had volunteered to cowl the game as a junior reporter – again earlier than it reached the heights of worldwide recognition it now enjoys – ultimately turning into “probably the most revered soccer authorities on this planet,” it mentioned.

The assertion mentioned that Wahl additionally labored with different media retailers together with Fox Sports activities. After leaving Sports activities Illustrated in 2020, he started publishing his podcast and publication.

grant wahl lebron james split

Hear LeBron James react to loss of life of sports activities author Grant Wahl

On Friday in Philadelphia, basketball star LeBron James mentioned he had been “very keen on Grant.” Whereas Wahl was at Sports activities Illustrated, he did a canopy story on James when James was in highschool.

“I’ve all the time type of watched from a distance even once I moved up in ranks and have become knowledgeable, and he went to a special sport,” mentioned James, talking at a postgame press convention. “Any time his identify would come up I’ll all the time suppose again to me as a teen and having Grant in our constructing … It’s a tragic loss.”

Tennis nice Billie Jean King mentioned the American’s loss of life was “heartbreaking.”

“A proficient journalist, Grant was an advocate for the LGBTQ neighborhood & a distinguished voice for girls’s soccer,” King tweeted Saturday. “He used his platform to raise these whose tales wanted telling. Prayers for his household.”

Different present and former US soccer gamers, together with Ali Krieger and Tony Meola, shared their condolences, as did sporting our bodies resembling Main League Soccer and the Nationwide Girls’s Soccer League.

Wittyngham, Wahl’s podcast co-host, instructed CNN on Saturday the information of his loss of life had been onerous to fathom.

“For People, Grant Wahl is the primary particular person you learn overlaying soccer. He was type of the one particular person for some time … Grant was the primary one that actually paid real consideration to this sport in a significant manner,” Wittyngham mentioned.

A number of journalists shared tales of reporting alongside Wahl, and having encountered him at a number of World Cups through the years.

“Earlier than he grew to become the perfect overlaying soccer he did hoops and was so variety to me,” wrote famed broadcaster Dick Vitale.

Timmy T. Davis, the US Ambassador to Qatar, tweeted that Wahl was “a well-known and enormously revered reporter who centered on the attractive sport.”

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