Grant Wahl, American Sports Journalist, Dies Suddenly at World Cup in Qatar
Grant Wahl, an acclaimed sports journalist who had been covering the World Cup in Qatar — and who had recently defied the country's ban on LGBTQ rights by wearing a rainbow shirt to the games — died Friday following a week of feeling ill.
He had recently turned 48.
Wahl, who had been treated for bronchitis, was covering the match between Argentina and the Netherlands at Lusail Iconic Stadium. He was in the press box as the match wound down, when he is thought to have gone into acute distress.
Wahl was taken to a hospital, dying on the way or at the facility.
Just four days before his passing, Wahl wrote, "My body finally broke down on me. Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and lots of work can do that to you. 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. I didn’t have Covid (I test regularly here), but I went into the medical clinic at the main media center today, and they said I probably have bronchitis. They gave me a course of antibiotics and some heavy-duty cough syrup, and I’m already feeling a bit better just a few hours later. But still: No bueno."
After news broke of Wahl's death, his wife, Dr. Céline Gounder, tweeted, "I am so thankful for the support of my husband Grant Wahl's soccer family & of so many friends who've reached out tonight. I'm in complete shock."
Wahl's death will be investigated. His brother, Eric Wahl, said on social media he suspects foul play over his brother's pro-LGBTQ stance. He had also written negatively of Qatar's treatment of migrant workers.