American journalist Grant Wahl died in Qatar after collapsing while covering the World Cup, sparking an outpouring of shock and grief across the sports world. . His death has shocked fans and supporters across the world, with tributes pouring in as some question the circumstances of his passing.
In a statement, the US Soccer Federation said it was “Heartbroken by the news. Fans of soccer and journalism of the highest quality knew we could always count on Grant to deliver insightful and entertaining stories about our game, and its major protagonists.
The World Cup organizing committee said he was taken to Doha’s Hamad General Hospital, but it did not state a cause of death. “We are in touch with the U.S. Embassy and relevant local authorities to ensure the process of repatriating the body is in accordance with the family’s wishes,” it said in a statement. Wahl would write as many as 50 cover stories for Sports Illustrated, many of them intimate investigations into the athlete or team he was covering. He was not just about the tactics of the game or the skills of the player. Wahl was more of a philosopher, with an acute eye for details that others might miss.
Grant Wahl was reportedly unwell for ten days, he wrote, “My body finally broke down on me. 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 was treated in the stadium “for about 20-25 minutes” before he was moved to the hospital, Keir Radnedge, a columnist at World Soccer Magazine, told CNN Saturday.
Wahl wore a rainbow T-shirt in support of LGBTQ rights to the United States’ World Cup opener against Wales on Nov. 21 and wrote that security refused him entry and told him to remove the shirt. Gay and lesbian sex is criminalized in Qatar.
Wahl graduated from Princeton in 1996 and worked for Sports Illustrated from 1996 to 2021, known primarily for his coverage of soccer and college basketball. He then launched his own website, Fútbol with Grant Wahl, and a podcast with Meadowlark Media. also worked for Fox Sports from 2012-19 and was hired by CBS Sports in 2021 as an analyst and editorial consultant. Wahl wrote the 2009 book “The Beckham Experiment” after English soccer star David Beckham joined Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy.
The USMNT released a statement, as did the MLS. In a post-game presser, LeBron James spoke with sorrow, “Any time his name would come up, I’ll always think back to me as a teenager having Grant in our building down at St. V’s. It’s a tragic loss. It’s unfortunate to lose someone as great as he was. I wish his family the best. May he rest in paradise.