Top U.S. soccer journalist Grant Wahl died in Qatar on Friday night while covering the World Cup. Wahl was 48.
The news came on social media when Eric Wahl posted a video claiming his brother had died in Qatar. Eric added that he believes foul play was involved.
Eric Wahl, the brother of sportswriter Grant Wahl who died in Qatar while covering the World Cup, is asking for help.Grant was detained in Qatar for wearing a rainbow shirt two weeks ago pic.twitter.com/lak0b1UZwa
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) December 10, 2022
I am so thankful for the support of my husband @GrantWahl's soccer family & of so many friends who've reached out tonight.I'm in complete shock. https://t.co/OB3IzOxGlE
— Céline Gounder, MD, ScM, FIDSA (@celinegounder) December 10, 2022
According to his brother, Wahl collapsed at Lusail Iconic Stadium after the Argentina-Netherlands game and was Ubered to a hospital but passed away.
Wahl had said on his podcast that he had suspected bronchitis and had visited the clinic at the media center twice.
"My body told me, even after the U.S. went out, 'Dude you are not sleeping enough.' It rebelled on me." Wahl said. He also wrote how the busy work schedule and illness was affecting him.
“My body finally broke down on me. Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and lots of work can do that to you,” Wahl wrote. “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.”
U.S. Soccer and MLS commissioner Don Garber released statements shortly after the news broke while fellow journalists and players shared their grief.
U.S. Soccer Statement On The Passing Of Grant Wahl: pic.twitter.com/CBp1mCK1mQ— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) December 10, 2022
Grant was an important member of the soccer community for more than two decades, and he will be deeply missed. Our heartfelt condolences are with his wife Celine, his family and loved ones.— Don Garber (@thesoccerdon) December 10, 2022
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) December 10, 2022
❤️— Brandi Chastain (@brandichastain) December 10, 2022
Heartbreaking news. Grant was one of the best. Prayers to his family and friends. https://t.co/JoD3pCQBSM— Mia Hamm (@MiaHamm) December 10, 2022
Unimaginably Awful news. Grant was a pioneer in football journalism in the United States. Condolences to his family and loved ones and this truly terrible time https://t.co/foe5V22Rpt— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) December 10, 2022
Wahl wrote for Sports Illustrated from 1996 to 2020 and was one of the most prominent voices in the U.S. soccer sphere. Wahl went independent following his exit from SI in 2020 and worked with CBS Sports while running his own GrantWahl.com news site.
He also wrote the New York Times Best Seller “The Beckham Experiment.” His importance to the growth of soccer in this country with his stories can’t be understated. This is a monumental and devastating loss for soccer.
Eric Wahl believes there was foul play involved. Grant Wahl had been one of the most critical voices on Qatar’s migrant worker controversy and laws against LGBTQ+.
On Nov. 21, for the USA’s opening game vs. Wales, Wahl tried entering the stadium with a rainbow shirt and was denied and then arrested for roughly 30 minutes.
Free to read: What happened when Qatar World Cup security detained me for 25 minutes for wearing a t-shirt supporting LGBTQ rights, forcibly took my phone and angrily demanded that I remove my t-shirt to enter the stadium. (I refused.) Story: https://t.co/JKpXXETDkH pic.twitter.com/HEjr0xzxU5— Subscribe to GrantWahl.com (@GrantWahl) November 21, 2022
“One guard forcibly ripped my phone from my hands,” Wahl wrote. “Nearly half an hour passed. One security guard told me that my shirt was ‘political’ and not allowed. Another continually refused to give me back my phone. Another guard yelled at me as he stood above me—I was sitting on a chair by now—that I had to remove my shirt.”
Wahl received death threats for his actions and tweet according to his brother Eric.