US football journalist Grant Wahl dies aged 49 in Qatar


LUSAIL, Qatar – Grant Wahl, one of the best-known soccer writers in the United States, died early Saturday while covering a World Cup match between Argentina and the Netherlands. He was 49 years old.

American media seated near him said Wahl collapsed in his seat in the press box at Lusail Iconic Stadium during overtime and reporters next to him called for help. Journalists said that emergency services workers responded very quickly and reporters were later told that Vahl had died.

Wahl was covering his eighth World Cup. He wrote on his website on Monday that he had visited a medical clinic while in Qatar.

Wahl wrote, “Eventually my body broke down on me. Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and a lot of work can do that to you.” USA-Netherlands game night, and I could feel my upper chest take on a whole new level of pressure and discomfort.

“I didn’t have Covid (I get tested regularly here), but I went to the medical clinic in the main media center today, and they said I probably have bronchitis. They gave me antibiotics and some heavy-duty cough syrup , and I’m already feeling a little better after just a few hours. But still: no beano.’

During the World Cup, Wahl attracted international attention after saying that he was barred from attending the US match against Wales on 21 November for wearing a rainbow-coloured T-shirt.

Wahl wore a rainbow T-shirt in support of LGBTQIA+ rights to the United States’ World Cup opener against Wales on 21 November and wrote that security denied him entry and asked him to remove the shirt. Gay and lesbian sex has been criminalized in Qatar, a conservative Muslim nation.

Wahl wrote that he was detained at the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan for 25 minutes, then let go by a security commander. Wahl said FIFA has apologized to him.

A 1996 graduate of Princeton, Wahl worked for Sports Illustrated from 1996 to 2021, known primarily for its coverage of football and college basketball. After this he launched his website. Wahl also worked for Fox Sports from 2012–19.

He is survived by his wife, Dr. Celine Gounder, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at New York University School of Medicine, Attending Physician at Bellevue Hospital Center and CBS News Medical News Contributor.

go under tweeted friday night She was in “complete shock” and thanked everyone for their support of her husband.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a tweet that the US “is engaged with senior Qatari officials to see that the wishes of his family are met as expeditiously as possible.”

Sports Illustrated released a statement through co-editors in chief Ryan Hunt and Stephen Canella saying they were “shocked and devastated by the news of Grant’s passing.”

“We were proud to call him a colleague and friend for two decades – no writer in SI history has been more passionate about the sport he loved and the stories he wanted to tell,” the statement read. ” “Our hearts go out to Celine and her family as well as all the people who loved their work. She will always be a part of the SI family.”

us soccer too issued a statement Friday night, saying they were “heartbroken” to learn of Wahl’s death.

Wahl wrote that he was among 82 journalists honored by FIFA and the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) for participating in eight or more World Cups.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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