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SPORTS JOURNALIST, GRANT WAHL SADLY DIES WHILE COVERING THE QUARTER FINALS OF THE WORLD CUPp

According to his wife and the US Soccer Federation, one of America’s top soccer reporters, who made news when he was arrested at the Qatar World Cup for donning a rainbow shirt, passed away on Friday while reporting the quarterfinals in Doha.

Grant Wahl, 48, contributed to the growth of soccer’s popularity in the United States by providing Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports with years of vivid reportage.

NPR claims that as the Argentina-Netherlands game on Friday came to a close, Wahl passed out in the press section. Before removing him from the scene on a stretcher, paramedics performed CPR. According to the Wall Street Journal, Wahl reportedly had a heart attack.

“Grant made soccer his life’s work, and we are devastated that he and his brilliant writing will no longer be with us,” US Soccer said in a statement.

It said the “entire US Soccer family is heartbroken.”

Wahl’s wife Celine Gounder, a renowned epidemiologist and expert on infectious diseases, tweeted: “I’m in complete shock.”

Wahl was detained in Qatar on November 21 by security staff after he wore a rainbow shirt to the opening match between the US and Wales teams, showing support for LGBTQ rights in a country where same sex relations are outlawed.

Wahl said on his subscription newsletter earlier this week that he’d gone to a clinic at the media center in Qatar, “and they said I probably have bronchitis.”

“My body finally broke down on me. Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and lots of work can do that to you… I could feel my upper chest take on a new level of pressure and discomfort,” he wrote.

With some antibiotics and “some heavy duty cough syrup” Wahl said he was “feeling a bit better just a few hours later. But still: No bueno.”

Wahl in 1996 joined Sports Illustrated, at the time the premiere US sports publication, to report on soccer. He remained at the magazine until 2020, joining CBS Sports a year later.

He also had launched a subscription email newsletter platform and was posting to that during the World Cup.

State Department spokesman Ned Price tweeted, “We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Grant Wahl” and added that US authorities have been “in close communication” with his family.

“We are engaged with senior Qatari officials to see to it that his family’s wishes are fulfilled as expeditiously as possible,” Price wrote.

News of Wahl’s death triggered an outpouring of emotion from the soccer world, a sign of his role in promoting the sport — both amateur and professional — in the United States.

“Fans of soccer and journalism of the highest quality knew we could count on Grant to deliver insightful and entertaining stories about our game, and its major protagonists: teams, players, coaches and that many personalities that make soccer unlike any sport,” US Soccer said.

 

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