Renowned journalist Grant Wahl has passed away in Qatar while covering the 2022 World Cup.

Wahl was one of the most prominent and recognisable media members in the history of US soccer.

He was at the Lusail Iconic Stadium covering the quarter-final between Argentina and the Netherlands on Friday when he is said to have collapsed in the press box. But after being transported by emergency services, he was later pronounced dead.

The World Cup organising committee said in a statement: “He received immediate emergency medical treatment on site, which continued as he was transferred by ambulance to Hamad General Hospital. We are in touch with the US Embassy and relevant local authorities to ensure the process of repatriating the body is in accordance with the family’s wishes.”

The committee did not disclose an official cause of death.

The US Soccer Federation said in a statement: “The entire US soccer family is heartbroken to learnt that we have lost Grant Wahl. Fans of soccer and journalism of the highest quality 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 make soccer unlike any other sport.

“Here in the United States, Grant’s passion for soccer and commitment to elevating its profile across our sporting landscape played a major role in helping to drive interest in and respect for our beautiful game. As important, Grant’s belief in the power of the game to advance human rights was, and will remain, an inspiration to all. 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 sends its sincerest condolences to Grant’s wife, Dr Celine Gounder, and all of his family members, friends, and colleagues in the media. And we thank Grant for his tremendous dedication to and impact on our game in the United States. His writing and the stories he told will live on.”

Wahl, who turned 48 on Thursday, was detained by Qatari authorities earlier at the World Cup for attempting to enter a stadium wearing a t-shirt featuring a rainbow in support of LGBTQ+ rights.

He revealed in a post on his website that he had prescribed antibiotics due to suspected bout of bronchitis earlier this week.

“My body finally broke down on me,” 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 and the main media center today, and they said I probably have bronchitis.”


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