December 10, 2022
Prominent American journalist Grant Wahl has died in Qatar after collapsing while covering the World Cup, sparking an outpouring of shock and grief across the sports world.
He “collapsed” while covering Friday’s Argentina-Netherlands match, a witness told CNN.
Qatar’s World Cup organizers said on Saturday that Wahl “fell ill” in the press area, where he received “immediate medical treatment on site.” He was then transferred to Hamad General Hospital, said a spokesperson for the Supreme Court Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the body responsible for planning the tournament.
He was treated in the stadium “for about 20-25 minutes” before he was moved to the hospital, Keir Radnedge, a columnist at World Soccer Magazine, told CNN Saturday.
“This was towards the end of extra time in the match. Suddenly, colleagues up to my left started shouting for medical assistance. Obviously, someone had collapsed. Because the chairs are freestanding, people were able to move the chairs, so it’s possible to create a little bit of space around him,” Radnedge said.
He added that the medical team were there “pretty quickly and were able to, as best they could, give treatment.”
The circumstances around his death are not clear.
“The entire US Soccer family is heartbroken to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl,” US Soccer said in a statement on its official Twitter account.
“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 praised Wahl’s passion and “belief in the power of the game to advance human rights,” and shared its condolences with Wahl’s wife, Celine Gounder, and his loved ones.
Gounder also posted the US Soccer statement on Twitter.
“I am so thankful for the support of my husband Grant Wahl’s soccer family and of so many friends who’ve reached out tonight. I’m in complete shock,” wrote Gounder, a former CNN contributor who served on the Biden-Harris transition Covid-19 advisory board.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the department was in “close communication” with Wahl’s family. The World Cup organizers also said they were in touch with the US embassy “to ensure the process of repatriating the body is in accordance with the family’s wishes.”
Wahl had covered soccer for more than two decades, including 11 World Cups — six men’s, five women’s – and authored several books on the sport, according to his website.
He had just celebrated his birthday earlier this week with “a great group of media friends at the World Cup,” according to a post on his official Twitter account, which added: “Very thankful for everyone.”