The 49-year-old reporter, who was stopped at the stadium on November 21 for wearing a rainbow shirt, fell ill in the press box. Rushed to hospital he passed away at dawn. LeBron’s memory: ‘Tragic loss’
Grant Wahl, one of the best-known soccer journalists in the United States, died on Saturday in Doha at dawn while “covering” the World Cup match between Argentina and the Netherlands. He was 49 years old. US media sitting next to him say Wahl fell backwards into his position in the press box at Lusail Iconic Stadium during overtime of the match and reporters near him called for help. The operators of the emergency services intervened in a timely manner, provided him with emergency aid on the spot before carrying him away on a stretcher to the hospital. The American newspaper The Wall Street Journal reports that Wahl died of a heart attack.
HE HAD BRONCHITIS
Wahl who was covering his eighth World Cup worked for the American channel CBS Sports. On Monday, December 5, he wrote on his website that he had visited a medical clinic in Qatar. “My body has abandoned me. Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and a lot of work can have this effect,” Wahl said. What used to be a cold for the last 10 days turned into something more serious on the night of the US-Netherlands game, and I felt my upper chest take on a new level of pressure and discomfort.” And then: “I don’t have Covid (I check it regularly here), but today I went to the doctor’s office at the main media center and they said I probably have bronchitis. They gave me a course of antibiotics and cough syrup, and after a few hours I feel a little better. But still: no bueno”.
In his podcast released on Thursday, the reporter added that he went to the medical clinic again. “I’ve basically canceled everything I had planned for this Thursday, I’ve slept and I’m slightly better, but my voice probably tells me I’m not 100%,” he said. “I hope I’m not coughing during the podcast. I’m coughing a lot. Everyone coughs here, not just me, but a lot of journalists have a crazy cough. Sometimes it feels like a death rattle.
STOPPED FOR THE RAINBOW T-SHIRT
During the World Cup, Wahl had attracted international attention after he said he was detained Wahl was detained by security personnel in Qatar on Nov. 21 for wearing a rainbow shirt at the US-Wales match in support of of LGBT rights. The journalist had tweeted that he was held for 25 minutes at the Ahmed Bin Ali stadium in Al Rayyan and then released.
A 1996 graduate of Princeton, Wahl worked for Sports Illustrated from 1996 to 2021, best known for its coverage of college football and basketball. He later launched his own website. Wahl also worked for Fox Sports from 2012 to 2019. He was married to a doctor, Celine Gounder, a well-known infectious disease specialist who has appeared on television several times during the Covid-19 pandemic and a CBS News contributor for medical news. Gounder tweeted Friday night that she was in “complete shock” and thanked everyone about her for her support for her husband. Sports Illustrated released a statement through co-editors in chief Ryan Hunt and Stephen Cannella who said they were “shocked and devastated by the news of Grant’s passing.” “We have been proud to call him a colleague and friend for two decades: no writer in the history of SI has been more passionate about the sport he loved and the stories he wanted to tell,” the statement read. “Our hearts go out to Celine and her family, as well as everyone who has loved her work. She will always be a part of SI’s family.”
THE MEMORY OF LEBRON
Among Wahl’s Sports Illustrated features is the famous cover story “The Chosen One” about LeBron James in 2002, when James was a sophomore at the St. Vincent-St. Mary High in Akron, Ohio. “He’s always been very nice to hang around. He’s spent a lot of time in my hometown of Akron,” James said in Philadelphia following the Los Angeles Lakers’ overtime loss to the 76ers. “Every time his name came up, I always thought back to when I was a teenager and had Grant in our building at St. It’s a tragic loss. It’s a shame to lose someone as great as he is. I wish his family all the best. May he rest in heaven”. US Soccer also released a statement Friday night, saying it was “heartbroken” to learn of Wahl’s death.