Grant Wahl, an important American journalist, died in Qatar after passing out while covering the World Cup. His death shocked and saddened the sports world. A witness told that he “collapsed” in the press area on Friday while covering the game between Argentina and the Netherlands. It’s not clear what happened when he died.
US Soccer said on its official Twitter account, “The whole US Soccer family is heartbroken to hear that Grant Wahl has died.” “Soccer was Grant’s life’s work, and we’re sad that he and his great writing are no longer with us.”
US Soccer praised Wahl’s passion and “belief in the power of the game to advance human rights,” and it sent condolences to Wahl’s wife, Celine Gounder, and the rest of his family. Gounder also put the statement from US Soccer on Twitter.
“I’m so grateful that my husband Grant Wahl’s soccer family and so many friends have reached out to me tonight. Gounder, a former contributor who worked on the Biden-Harris transition Covid-19 advisory board, wrote, “I’m completely shocked.”
Wahl had written about soccer for more than 20 years, and his website says he had covered 11 World Cups. He wrote for Sports Illustrated for a long time and wrote several books about sports. In a podcast called “Futbol with Grant Wahl” that came out just days before he died on December 6, he talked about feeling sick.
“It was getting pretty bad in terms of tightness and pressure in my chest. Wahl told co-host Chris Wittyngham in the episode, “I feel pretty hairy and bad.” He also said that he went to the clinic in the World Cup media center because he thought he had bronchitis.
He was given cough medicine and ibuprofen, and he said that he felt better soon after. Wahl also said that after the US-Netherlands game on December 3, his body and mind gave up without him wanting them to.
“I’ve done this before. He said at the time, “I’ve done eight of these for men.” “And so, I’ve been sick to some degree at every tournament, and it’s just a matter of trying to find a way to get your work done.”
In a recent newsletter that came out on December 5, he wrote more about what happened. He said that his body “broke down” because he didn’t get enough sleep, was under a lot of stress and had a lot of work to do. He’d had a cold for 10 days, which “turned into something worse,” he wrote, adding that he felt better after taking antibiotics and getting more sleep. Ned Price, a spokesman for the US State Department, said that the department was “in close touch” with Wahl’s family.
Honors And Condolences Come In
Wahl’s death has shocked people who write about soccer and sports, and many of them have paid tribute to him on social media.
“When we heard that Grant had died, we were shocked and sad. “We were proud to call him a colleague and friend for 20 years. No writer in the history of (Sports Illustrated) was more passionate about the sport he loved and the stories he wanted to tell,” said the co-editors in chief of Sports Illustrated in a joint statement.
The statement also said that Wahl had been working at the magazine since November 1996, which is 24 years. He volunteered to cover the sport as a young reporter, back when it wasn’t as popular around the world as it is now. Over time, he became “one of the most respected soccer experts in the world,” the article said.
The statement also said that Wahl had worked with Fox Sports and other media outlets. In 2020, he stopped working for Sports Illustrated and started putting out his podcast and newsletter. LeBron James, a famous basketball player, said on Friday in Philadelphia that he was “very fond of Grant.” When James was in high school, Wahl wrote a cover story for Sports Illustrated about James.
James said at a press conference after a game, “I’ve always kind of watched from afar, even when I moved up the ranks and became a pro and he went to a different sport.” “Every time I hear his name, I’ll remember when I was a teenager and Grant lived in our building. It’s a sad loss.”
Don Garber, the commissioner of Major League Soccer, said in a statement that he was “shocked, saddened, and heartbroken” about Grant Wahl’s tragic death. He said that Wahl was “a kind and caring person.”
The National Women’s Soccer League also tweeted their condolences, saying that Wahl’s “commitment to sharing the stories of our beautiful game was unmatched, but more importantly, his integrity, thoughtfulness, and kindness were at the core of how he lived.”
Other reporters told stories about working with Wahl and running into him at different World Cups over the years. “Before he became the best at covering soccer, he covered basketball and was so nice to me,” wrote famous broadcaster Dick Vitale.
Wahl made headlines in November when he said he was detained and turned away from a World Cup game because he was wearing a rainbow-colored shirt to support LGBTQ rights. He said that security staff told him to change his shirt because “it’s not allowed” and took his phone. Wahl said that he was let go 25 minutes after being arrested and that a FIFA representative and a senior member of the stadium’s security team apologized to him.
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