A leading American soccer journalist, Grant Wahl collapsed and died on Friday while covering the quarter-finals in Doha, according to his wife, Celine Gounder and the US Soccer federation. He was 48.
Wahl attracted global attention at the start of the game when he was detained at the Qatar World Cup for wearing a rainbow shirt. He was credited to have built soccer’s popularity in the United States through decades of vivid reporting at Sports Illustrated, then with CBS Sports.
According to NPR, he collapsed in the press tribune on Friday’s as Argentina-Netherlands match was winding down. Paramedics performed CPR at the scene before taking him away on a stretcher. The Wall Street Journal said Wahl apparently suffered a heart attack.
“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 said in a statement.
It said the “entire US Soccer family is heartbroken.”
Wahl’s wife Celine Gounder, a renowned epidemiologist and expert on infectious diseases, tweeted: “I’m in complete shock.”
Wahl was detained in Qatar on November 21 by security staff after he wore a rainbow shirt to the opening match between the US and Wales teams, showing support for LGBTQ rights in a country where same sex relations are outlawed.