Grant Wahl, soccer journalist from Mission, Kan., dies in Qatar during World Cup

Grant Wahl
Grant Wahl(GrantWahl.substack.com)
Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 8:36 PM CST
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MISSION, Kan. (KCTV/AP) --- A sports journalist from Mission, Kan., died Friday while covering the World Cup.

Grant Wahl died in Qatar while covering the event on Friday, his brother said on Instagram.

Wahl was perhaps the most well known soccer analyst in the United States. He most recently worked for CBS Sports, but was a senior writer for Sports Illustrated and worked at Fox Sports.

Before covering the United States’ opening game against Wales, he was not allowed into one of the stadiums due to wearing a rainbow shirt. It was one example of the Qatari government’s crackdown on LGBTQ demonstrations.

U.S. media seated near him said Wahl was stricken while in the media tribute at Lusail Iconic Stadium during extra time and could not be revived.

Wahl was covering his eighth World Cup. He wrote Monday that he had visited a hospital while in Qatar.

“My body finally broke down on me. Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and lots of work can do that to you,” Wahl wrote. “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 didn’t have Covid (I test regularly here), but 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.”

Céline Gounder, Wahl’s wife, said she’s in complete shock.

His brother, Eric Wahl, suspected foul play. He said his brother received death threats for wearing the shirt.

“My name is Eric Wahl. I live in Seattle. I am Grant Wahl’s brother. I’m gay,” he said in an Instagram video. “I’m the reason he wore the rainbow shirt to the World Cup. My brother was healthy. He told me he received death threats. I do not believe my brother just died. I believe he was killed. And I just beg for any help.”

U.S. Soccer paid tribute to Wahl on Twitter:

Wahl attended Shawnee Mission East.

No cause of death has been reported.