American journalist dies in Qatar
American sports reporter Grant Wahl, 48, has died suddenly while covering the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Wahl collapsed shortly after extra time began in Friday’s quarter-final fixture between Argentina and the Netherlands, with early reports suggesting that he may have suffered a heart attack – though this is yet to be confirmed.
According to reporters who were positioned near Wahl during the match, he appeared to collapse in his seat in the media section of the Lusail Stadium. Emergency workers were immediately called to the scene and he was transported to a nearby hospital.
“He received immediate emergency medical treatment on site, which continued as he was transferred by ambulance to Hamad General Hospital,” the Qatar World Cup organizing committee said of Wahl in a statement.
“We are in touch with the US Embassy and relevant local authorities to ensure the process of repatriating the body is in accordance with the family’s wishes.”
U.S. Soccer Statement On The Passing Of Grant Wahl: pic.twitter.com/CBp1mCK1mQ— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) December 10, 2022
This is Grant Wahl on his podcast yesterday. pic.twitter.com/LN0gxbQZkr— Kyle Koster (parody impersonation) (@KyleKoster) December 10, 2022
We are shocked, saddened and heartbroken over the tragic passing of Grant Wahl. He was a kind and caring person whose passion for soccer and dedication to journalism were immeasurable. pic.twitter.com/ohJoZlGfk0— Don Garber (@thesoccerdon) December 10, 2022
Wahl, who was covering his eighth World Cup, had previously been briefly detained by Qatari authorities after he attempted to enter a stadium wearing a rainbow-colored shirt in a move designed to express solidarity with the LGBT community.
He wrote earlier this week that he had been feeling unwell and that he had visited a medical center in Qatar where he was told that he was suffering from suspected bronchitis.
“My body finally broke down on me. Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and lots of work can do that to you,” Wahl stated, adding that he had tested negative for Covid-19.
“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 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.”
In a statement, the US Soccer Federation said that it was “heartbroken" by Wahl's passing.
“Grant’s passion for soccer and commitment to elevating its profile across our sporting landscape played a major role in helping to drive interest in and respect for our beautiful game,” it added.
Reacting to the news, FIFA President Gianni Infantino paid tribute to Wahl and said that he will be “missed by all who follow the global game.”