LUSAIL, Qatar (KXAN) — Longtime US soccer writer Grant Wahl died while covering the FIFA World Cup early Saturday morning.
Wahl, 48, was covering the quarterfinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands when he died, NPR’s Russell Lewis reported. Wahl collapsed in the press tribune area of the stadium and medics performed CPR before taking him away on a stretcher, according to the report. The match was at Lusail Stadium outside Doha at 10 p.m. Friday local time in Qatar.
Details surrounding his death are unclear. Wahl’s brother, Eric, released an emotional video Friday evening on his Instagram account saying Grant had died. Eric moved his account to private later Friday night.
Ned Price, a spokesperson for the State Department, said the department is “engaging with senior Qatari officials to see to it that his family’s wishes are fulfilled as expeditiously as possible.”
The U.S. Soccer Federation released a statement about Wahl’s death on its Twitter account.
“The entire U.S. Soccer family is heartbroken to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl,” the statement began. “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.”
“Grant’s passion for soccer and commitment to elevating its profile across our sporting landscape played a major role in helping drive interest in and respect for our beautiful game.”
Claudio Reyna, sporting director for Austin FC, said in a statement that “Wahl’s contributions to the American soccer landscape are immeasurable.”
“He was a friend, top professional, and a kind, caring man,” Reyna said. “My family and I will remember our time spent with Grant fondly and our thoughts are with his loved ones in this difficult time.”
Wahl, who worked for Sports Illustrated for 25 years and then with FOX Sports for six years before starting his Substack site GrantWahl.com, also contributed to the Amazon Prime Video documentary “Good Rivals.” The three-part series is about the relationship between the United States and Mexican national soccer teams. He appeared on CBS Sports Network as a correspondent during this World Cup.
Wahl said he went to a medical center in Qatar and was given antibiotics and cough syrup for a possible case of bronchitis on Monday.
He criticized Qatari organizers on several occasions, most recently after a migrant worker reportedly died earlier in the tournament in the Saudi Arabia team’s training resort. It was reported that the Filipino worker died due to a head injury related to a forklift accident. When asked about the death by a journalist, Qatari Supreme Committee CEO Nasser Al-Khater replied, in part, “death is a natural part of life.”
Wahl said he was detained by Qatari World Cup officials for wearing a T-shirt supporting LGBTQ rights in the opening days of the tournament.
Wahl’s wife, Celine Gounder, tweeted her thanks for the support she’s received from the soccer community.
“I’m in complete shock,” she said.