Grant Wahl, a renowned American journalist, died this Friday, November 9, while covering the match between the Netherlands and Argentina at the Lusail Stadium, corresponding to the Quarterfinals of the Qatar 2022 World Cup. He was found unconscious in the media area during extra time and could not be revived.
The 48-year-old, best known for his work at Sports Illustrated, wrote on Monday that he had to go to the hospital due to what doctors identified as bronchitis.
According to information reported by the Wall Street Journal and obtained from medical personnel on site, Wahl suffered a cardiac arrest during the match.
“My body finally let me down. I had very little sleep, a lot of stress and work in the last three weeks, that’s what it can give, “he noted.
“What was a cold for the last 10 days finally became something much more severe on the night of the game between the United States and the Netherlands,” he continued. I could feel great pressure and discomfort in my chest. I didn’t have COVID-19 (we get tested a lot here), but I went to the media center medical clinic and they said I probably had bronchitis”.
Celine Gounder, his wife, wrote: “I am so grateful for the support of my husband Grant Wahl from the soccer family and so many friends who have reached out tonight. I am in complete shock.”
Who was Grant Wahl?
Grant Wahl began admiring sports and storytelling as a child, however, it wasn’t until he entered Princeton University that he really began to practice professionally as a sportswriter.
Wahl, 48, was a well-known former Sports Illustrated journalist who was covering the World Cup for CBS Sports with analysis and written columns.
Wahl spent 24 years at SI, which he joined in November 1996. Two years later, as an aspiring journalist, he volunteered to cover a burgeoning game that few people in the offices of IF cared about: football. He covered the World Cup in France that summer and quickly rose through the ranks to senior editor for the publication in 2000. Eventually, he would become one of the most respected football authorities in the world.
Wahl specialized in international coverage, constantly expanding his love, knowledge and respect for the game. Prior to his professional career, he spent a summer in Argentina studying club political culture for his thesis at the University of Princeton.
Grant’s brother posted video
Eric Wahl, Grant’s brother, posted a video within hours of the news of his death breaking. Eric shared that he doesn’t think his brother died “of cardiac arrest,” but that he was murdered. Grant Wahl was detained for 20 minutes in a Group Phase duel for wearing a shirt with the flag of the LGBTIQ+ community, the same one to which Eric belongs.
Wahl wore a rainbow sweater in support of LGBTQ rights during the United States opener against Wales on Nov. 21 and wrote that security denied him entry and told him to remove the garment. Gay and lesbian relationships are criminalized in Qatar, a conservative Muslim country.
Wahl wrote that he was held for 25 minutes at Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, then released by a security commander. Wahl said the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) had apologized to him.
As soon as the news of Wahl’s death was announced, reactions poured in on social media. The American soccer association US Soccer was one of the first to issue a lengthy statement.
“The entire American soccer family is torn to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl. Fans of soccer and high-quality journalism knew we could always count on Grant to deliver engaging and entertaining stories about our sport and its key players”.
“Here in the United States, Grant’s passion for soccer and his dedication to raising the profile of the sport across the sporting landscape has been instrumental in increasing interest and respect for our wonderful game,” continued Mr. ‘association.
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