The Qatari government has provided some more details on the death of American sports journalist Grant Wahl, promising to repatriate the body “according to the wishes of the family”.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of US journalist Grant Wahl,” a spokesman for the Qatar Supreme Committee on Surrender and Legacy said in a statement. “Grant was known for his huge love of soccer and was in Qatar to cover his eighth FIFA World Cup.”
“He fell ill in the media box at Lusail Stadium during last night’s quarter-final match between Argentina and the Netherlands,” the statement added. “He received immediate emergency medical treatment on site, which continued while he was transferred by ambulance to Hamad General Hospital.”
The committee expressed its “deepest condolences” to Wahl’s family, friends and colleagues, adding that it is “in contact with the U.S. Embassy and appropriate local authorities” to ensure that Wahl’s body is repatriated.” according to the wishes of the family”.
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Wahl, 48, died Friday night. His death shocked his family and colleagues as he appeared to be in excellent health. Fellow reporter Rafael Cores, who sat next to Wahl during the game, said Wahl was working on his laptop and was “laughing at a joke we saw on Twitter” minutes before collapsing.
Paramedics performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation for several minutes before sending him to hospital.
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Wahl’s brother Eric announced the death on Twitter, pleading for help as he grappled with the news. Eric Wahl noted that Qatari authorities had arrested Grant Wahl for wearing a rainbow jersey two weeks earlier when he tried to watch the US-Wales match.
“I’m gay. I’m the reason he wore the rainbow jersey to the World Cup,” said Eric Wahl. “My brother was healthy. He told me he received death threats. I don’t think my brother just died. I think he was killed. And I’m just asking for help.”
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Grant Wahl had written a final post in his Substack newsletter, “Fútbol,” in which he criticized the Qatari government for its treatment of migrant workers, saying, “They don’t care.”
Wahl said on Thursday he had been feeling sick all week, saying he had bronchitis. He described his body as “revolting against me,” prompting him to visit the medical clinic twice, including on Thursday.
“I basically canceled everything this Thursday I did and took a nap, and I’m doing slightly better,” she said. “You can probably tell from my voice that I’m not here 100%.”
US Soccer released a statement saying “the entire US Soccer family is heartbroken.”
Wahl began his journalism career as an intern for The Miami Herald and worked for Sports Illustrated from 1996 to 2020. Last year, Wahl launched his “Fútbol” newsletter. He has also worked for FOX Sports and CBS Sports during his career.
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“So thankful for the support of my husband @GrantWahl’s football family and so many friends reaching out tonight,” Wahl’s wife, Dr. Céline Gounder, tweeted. “I’m in complete shock.”
Joseph A. Wulfsohn of Fox News contributed to this report.