Us Journalist Dies: Grant Wahl, a well-known American journalist, is away in Qatar after collapsing while covering the World Cup, sending shockwaves across the sports community. He was 49.
A witness told CNN that he “collapsed” while covering Friday’s Argentina-Netherlands match.
Wahl “became sick” in the press area, where he received “urgent medical treatment on-site,” according to Qatar’s World Cup organizers on Saturday. According to a representative for the Supreme Court Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the organization in charge of organizing the competition, he was transported to Hamad General Hospital.
Keir Radnedge, a columnist for World Soccer Magazine, told CNN on Saturday that he was treated in the stadium “for about 20-25 minutes” before being taken to the hospital.
“This was towards the end of extra time in the match. Suddenly, colleagues up to my left started shouting for medical assistance. Someone had collapsed. Because the chairs are freestanding, people could move them, so it’s possible to create a little bit of space around him,” Radnedge said.
The medical staff arrived “fairly promptly and were able to, as best they could administer care,” he continued.
It’s unclear what exactly happened to cause his death.
“The entire US Soccer family is heartbroken to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl,” US Soccer said in a statement on its official Twitter account.
“Grant made soccer his life’s work, and we are devastated that he and his brilliant writing will no longer be with us.”
US Soccer expressed their sympathies to Wahl’s wife, Celine Gounder, and other family members while praising Wahl’s drive and “conviction in the power of the game to improve human rights.”
The US Soccer message was also shared on Twitter by Gounder.
“I am extremely appreciative of the help from my husband Grant Wahl’s soccer family and all of the friends who have been in touch with me tonight. I’m in full amazement,” stated Gounder, a longtime CNN commentator and member of the Covid-19 advisory group for the Biden-Harris transition.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the department was in “close communication” with Wahl’s family. The World Cup organizers also said they were in touch with the US embassy “to ensure the process of repatriating the body is following the family’s wishes.”
According to his website, Wahl had covered soccer for more than 20 years, including 11 World Cups (six for men and five for women), and had written several books about the game.
According to a tweet on his official Twitter account, he had just celebrated his birthday earlier this week with “a terrific bunch of media pals at the World Cup.” He added: “Very thankful for everyone.”
He had expressed feeling unwell in a Futbol with Grant Wahl episode released just days before he passed away on December 6.
“The pressure, stiffness, and tightness in my chest had gotten awful. In the broadcast, Wahl told co-host Chris Wittyngham, “I’m feeling very hairy, awful. He said, “I thought I had bronchitis, so I went to the medical clinic in the World Cup media center.”
He was given ibuprofen and cough medicine and claims to have felt better soon after.
According to Wahl, a “voluntary capitulation by my body and mind” occurred following the US-Netherlands match on December 3.
“This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve done eight of these on the men’s side,” he said at the time. “And so, like, I’ve gotten sick to some extent at every tournament, and it’s just about trying to find a way to get your work done.”
In a recent newsletter released on December 5, he went on to further detail the occurrence, claiming that his body had “broken down” due to lack of sleep, excessive levels of stress, and a demanding job. He claimed that after suffering from a cold for ten days, it “developed into something more severe” and that he felt better after taking medication and getting some rest.
By claiming that he had been held and momentarily denied access to a World Cup game because he was sporting a rainbow t-shirt in support of LGBTQ rights, Wahl had made headlines in November.
He claimed that security personnel had grabbed his phone and instructed him to change his clothes because “it’s not authorized.” A FIFA spokesman and a senior member of the stadium security staff apologized to Wahl, who claimed he was freed 25 minutes after being arrested.
Wahl later admitted to CNN that he “probably will” wear the shirt again.
Tributes Pour In
The soccer and sports journalistic communities were shocked by Wahl’s passing, and many people paid respect to him online.
Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, said in a statement, “Only a few days ago, Grant was acknowledged by FIFA and AIPS (the International Sports Press Association) for his commitment to reporting on eight consecutive FIFA World Cups.
Infantino and FIFA media director Bryan Swanson visited the hospital to provide the family, friends, and journalists who were also his housemates in Qatar with any help they might need.
In a joint statement, the co-editors in chief of Sports Illustrated, the outlet where Wahl worked for the bulk of his career, expressed their “shocked and devastated at the news of Grant’s passing.”
No writer in the history of (Sports Illustrated) has ever been more enthusiastic about the sport he loved and the stories he wanted to tell, the statement said. “We were pleased to call him a colleague and friend for two decades.”
It was noted that Wahl had started working for the magazine in November 1996. Before the sport reached worldwide prominence, he volunteered to cover it as a young reporter. He later rose to become “one of the most regarded soccer authorities in the world,” according to the report.
According to the statement, Wahl collaborated with Fox Sports and other media organizations. He started his podcast and newsletter in 2020 after quitting Sports Illustrated.
LeBron James, a basketball player, stated that he was “extremely fond of Grant” on Friday in Philadelphia. James was the subject of a Sports Illustrated cover article by Wahl while James was still in high school.
“I’ve always kind of watched from a distance, even when I moved up in ranks and became a professional, and he went to a different sport,” said James, speaking at a postgame press conference. “Any time his name would come up, I’ll always think back to me as a teenager and having Grant in our building … It’s a tragic loss.”
According to tennis legend Billie Jean King, the American’s death was “heartbreaking.”
“A talented journalist, Grant was an advocate for the LGBTQ community & a prominent voice for women’s soccer,” King tweeted Saturday. “He used his platform to elevate those whose stories needed telling. Prayers for his family.”
Other current and past US soccer players, such as Tony Meola and Ali Krieger, as well as organizations like Major League Soccer and the National Women’s Soccer League, expressed their condolences.
Co-host of Wahl’s podcast Wittyngham told CNN on Saturday that it had been challenging to comprehend the news of his passing.
“For Americans, Grant Wahl is the first person you read covering soccer. He was the only person for a while … Grant was the first person who paid genuine attention to this sport in a meaningful way,” Whittingham said.
Several journalists related their experiences working with Wahl and running into him at several World Cups.
“Before he became the best covering soccer, he did hoops and was so kind to me,” wrote famed broadcaster Dick Vitale.
Wahl was described as “a highly recognized and greatly respected reporter who specialized on the beautiful game” by Timmy T. Davis, the US ambassador to Qatar, in a tweet. Do you want to learn more about celebrities? Visit our website, Newswatchlist.com, for the most recent news.