Grant Wahl, a sports writer and soccer expert, died while covering the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, U.S. Soccer reported Friday. He was 48.
Wahl’s cause of death was not made public, but in a video message he posted on Instagram, his brother, Eric Wahl, begged for assistance.
He had previously been held in Qatar two weeks prior for donning a rainbow shirt despite the fact that same-sex relationships are forbidden there.
“Eric Wahl is my name. In Seattle, Washington, I reside. I am the brother of Grant Wahl. I’m gay. He donned the rainbow shirt to the World Cup because of me “According to Eric Wahl’s video message.
“My brother was healthy. He told me that he received death threats. I do not believe that my brother just died. I believe he was killed.”
His death prompted remarks from State Department spokesman Ned Price, who revealed that U.S. officials have been “in close communication” with Wahl’s family.
“We are engaged with senior Qatari officials to see to it that his family’s wishes are fulfilled as expeditiously as possible.”
Eric Wahl later said that his brother collapsed at the stadium and was given CPR before he was taken by Uber to a hospital, where he died, according to the New York Post.
Grant Wahl was married to Céline Gounder, an infectious disease expert who served on the COVID-19 Advisory Board transition team for President Joe Biden.
“I am extremely appreciative of the help from my husband Grant Wahl’s soccer family and all of the friends who have been in touch with me tonight. I’m utterly shocked “According to Gounder’s statement.
“The whole U.S. Soccer family is heartbroken to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl,” U.S. Soccer said in a statement.
According to the statement, “fans of soccer and those who value the best journalism knew we could always count on Grant to deliver insightful and entertaining stories about our game, and its major protagonists: teams, players, coaches, and the many personalities that distinguish soccer from other sports.”
In an essay for his Substack weekly, Grant Wahl described his detention in Qatar.
“The security officers refused to let me in, kept me for 25 minutes, and angrily demanded that I remove my t-shirt when I arrived at the stadium media entrance to cover the United States-Wales World Cup game today wearing a rainbow soccer ball t-shirt representing the LGBTQ community,” Wahl said.
After being stopped and having a security guard “forcefully yank my phone from my hands,” Wahl claimed that he quickly tweeted.
“Nearly 30 minutes had passed. My clothing was prohibited because it was “political,” according to one security guard. I was repeatedly denied access to my phone by another. Another guard shouted at me from above.
On his podcast “Futbol with Grant Wahl,” Wahl admitted on Thursday that he had bronchitis and was feeling under the weather.
“Even after the United States left, I believe my body warned me, “Dude, you are not sleeping enough.” It disobeyed me, “During his podcast, Wahl remarked.
“I’ve been suffering from bronchitis this week, and I’ve already visited the media center’s medical clinic twice, including today. Today, I feel better. On this particular Thursday, I essentially canceled everything and took a nap instead. I’m also getting a little better. I believe it’s clear from the tone of my voice that I’m not entirely well.”
Wahl’s agent, Tim Scanlan, told The New York Times on Friday that Wahl was in the press box during the quarterfinal game between Argentina and the Netherlands when he collapsed. He is believed to have died at a local hospital.