Grant Wahl had bronchitis in days prior to his death at age 48 at World Cup
By Peter Aitken
More information about the passing of American sports journalist Grant Wahl has been released by the government of Qatar, which also pledged to return the body “in accordance with the family’s wishes.”
The death of American journalist Grant Wahl left the Qatari Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy “deeply saddened,” according to a statement from the organization. Grant, who was in Qatar to cover his eighth FIFA World Cup, was well known for his fervent love of football.
The statement continued, “He became ill during last night’s quarterfinal game between Argentina and Netherlands in the Lusail Stadium media tribune.” On-site emergency medical care was provided to him right away, and it continued as he was transported by ambulance to Hamad General Hospital.
The committee expressed its “sincere condolences” to Wahl’s friends, family, and coworkers and added that it is “in touch with the U.S. Embassy and relevant local authorities” to ensure that Wahl’s body is returned “in accordance with the family’s wishes.”
Wahl, 48, died Friday evening. His death shocked his loved ones and coworkers because he seemed to be in excellent health. Rafael Cores, a fellow journalist who sat next to Wahl during the game, claimed that just prior to passing out, Wahl was working on his laptop and had been “laughing at a joke we saw on Twitter.”
Paramedics performed CPR for several minutes at the scene before sending him to hospital.
Wahl’s brother Eric announced the death on Twitter, making a plea for help as he grappled with the news. Eric Wahl noted that Qatari authorities had detained Grant Wahl for wearing a rainbow shirt two weeks prior when he tried to attend the U.S. vs Wales match.
“I’m gay. I’m the reason he wore the rainbow shirt to the World Cup,” Eric Wahl said. “My brother was healthy. He told me he received death threats. I do not believe my brother just died. I believe he was killed. And I just beg for any help.”
Grant Wahl had written a final post on his Substack newsletter, “Fútbol,” in which he criticized the Qatari government for their treatment of migrant workers, saying, “They just don’t care.”
Wahl on Thursday said he had felt under the weather throughout the week, saying he had bronchitis. He described his body as having “rebelled on me,” prompting him to visit the medical clinic twice, including on Thursday.
“I basically canceled everything on this Thursday that I had and napped, and I’m doing slightly better,” he said. “You can probably tell in my voice that I’m not 100% here.”
U.S. Soccer released a statement saying “the entire U.S. Soccer family is heartbroken.”
Wahl began his journalism career as an intern for The Miami Herald and worked at Sports Illustrated from 1996-2020. Last year, Wahl launched his “Fútbol” newsletter. He also worked for FOX Sports and CBS Sports during his career.
“I am so thankful for the support of my husband @GrantWahl ‘s soccer family & of so many friends who’ve reached out tonight,” Wahl’s wife, Dr. Céline Gounder tweeted. “I’m in complete shock.”
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.