Soccer journalist Grant Wahl, who recently made international headlines after he said he was temporarily detained in Qatar for wearing a rainbow jersey, has died, US Soccer said in a statement.
The cause of death has not been revealed. Wahl, who also writes for the GrantWahl.com substack, recently worked for CBS Sports but has also worked for other outlets including Sports Illustrated and NBC News, according to his Twitter.
As an author, his 2009 non-fiction book “The Beckham Experiment” about British soccer icon David Beckham’s transfer to Major League Soccer in the United States became a New York Times bestseller.
“The entire American football family is heartbroken to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl. 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: teams, players, coaches and the many personalities that make football a different sport,” US Soccer said in a statement.
Wahl’s wife, Dr Celine Gounder, wrote on Twitter that she was “completely in shock”.
“I am so grateful for my husband’s support @GrantWahlfrom the football family and so many friends who reached out tonight. I’m completely in shock,” Gounder wrote.
On November 21, Wahl said he was denied entry into the United States men’s national team World Cup opener against Wales in Qatar because the jersey he wore featured a rainbow surrounding a soccer ball. He later posted that he went to the media area of Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan after being “detained” for nearly 30 minutes.
Wahl was covering his eighth World Cup.
According to members of the US media, Wahl was struck during the media tribute at the Lusail Iconic Stadium during extra time in the World Cup match between Argentina and the Netherlands and could not be revived, reports the ‘Associated Press.
He wrote on Monday that he visited a medical clinic while in Qatar.
“My body finally crumbled on me. Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and a lot of work can do this to you,” Wahl wrote. turned into something more serious on the night of the USA-Netherlands game, and I could feel my upper chest taking on a new level of pressure and discomfort.”
Wahl wrote that he tested negative for COVID-19 and sought treatment for his symptoms.
“I went to the main media center medical clinic today, and they said I probably had bronchitis. They gave me a course of antibiotics and cough syrup, and I feel already a little better a few hours later. But still: No bueno,” he wrote.
In a statement, MLS commissioner Don Garber sent his condolences to Wahl’s family.
“We are shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the tragic passing of Grant Wahl. He was a kind and caring individual whose passion for football and dedication to journalism was immeasurable. Grant has been an important member of the football community for more than two decades, and he will be deeply missed,” Garber said.