American football writer Grant Wahl dies at the World Cup

US soccer journalist Grant Wahl died aged 49 in Qatar on Saturday while covering the World Cup, US Soccer said in a statement.

“The entire American football family is heartbroken to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl,” US Soccer said. in a report Friday. “Fans of the highest quality football and journalism knew we could always count on Grant to deliver insightful and entertaining stories about our game and its main protagonists: the teams, players, coaches and the many personalities who make football a different sport. Here in the United States, Grant’s passion for football and his commitment to raising its profile in our sporting landscape have played a major role in helping to generate interest and respect for our beautiful game. “

Sportswriter Grant Wahl covering the United States Men’s National Team in East Hartford, Connecticut on October 10, 2014.

Fred Kfoury III/AP, FILE

At the start of his “Fútbol with Grant Wahl” podcast on Thursday, Wahl said he had bronchitis and had been to the medical clinic twice that day and canceled everything to take a nap. He said he felt better but not 100%.

“I feel better today. I basically canceled everything I had on Thursday, and I took a nap and I’m a little better than you can probably tell in my voice I’m not at 100% here. I hope I won’t cough during this podcast. I cough a lot,” he said.

“Everybody’s cough here like that is by no means limited to me, like so many journalists have a crazy cough. Sometimes it sounds like a death rattle. The only thing that actually surprises me is that there’s not a lot of COVID here, I thought there might be a real problem with that. We don’t really see any cases of COVID. We just see a lot of general illnesses, coughs, colds, and I can’t wait to be on the other side of what I have . But I’m going to be ready to go, I’m attending on Friday. Argentina Netherlands quarter-final, very excited for it. And then I’m going to France, England on Saturday,” he added.

Wahl’s wife, Celine Gounder, tweeted Friday that she was in shock.

“I’m so grateful for the support of my husband’s football family @GrantWahl & from so many friends who reached out tonight,” Gounder tweeted after sharing US Soccer’s statement. “I’m in shock.”

“We were deeply saddened to learn of Grant Wahl’s passing and extend our condolences to his family, with whom we have been in close communication. We are in contact with senior Qatari officials to ensure that his family’s wishes are met. be answered as quickly as possible,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said. tweeted Friday.

PHOTO: Sports journalist Grant Wahl speaks at a panel discussion in New York, April 8, 2014.

Sports journalist Grant Wahl speaks during a panel discussion in New York, April 8, 2014.

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images, FILE

Wahl was temporarily detained by security in Qatar at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium for wearing a gay pride flag shirt during the USA-Wales World Cup match last month.

“Security guard refusing to let me into the stadium for USA-Wales. “You need to change your shirt. It’s not allowed,” he tweeted.

Wahl was a renowned football writer and covered the sport for many years at Sports Illustrated. He spoke with ‘Start Here’ in November about his expectations for World Cup coverage. He had spent time in Qatar earlier before arriving for the games.

“I wanted to do a story and do some real reporting on the subject of migrant workers in Qatar. Almost 90% of the workforce in Qatar is non-Qatari. They come from East Africa, West Africa, Indian subcontinent [and] Far East. And they accept construction work, work in domestic situations and houses, hotel workers [and] all kinds of things migrant workers do in Qatar. But the story is that they are not well paid. They are not treated well. A lot of people died,” Wahl said.

ABC News’ Davone Morales contributed to this report.

ABC News

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