© Reuters. Soccer Football – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Quarter Final – England Vs France – Al Bayt Stadium Al Khor (Qatar) – December 10, 2022 Big screen shows an image of Grant Wahl, an American journalist who died yesterday REUTERS/Lee Smith
By Kanishka Singh, Humeyra Pamuk
WASHINGTON (Reuters] – Grant Wahl, a well-known U.S. journalist covering soccer, died suddenly while covering a match at this year’s World Cup in Qatar. The State Department announced Monday that Wahl’s body had arrived in the United States.
“American journalist Grant Wahl has been returned to his family in the U.S. We’re honored to have shepherded him home, & grateful to the government of Qatar for their cooperation & transparency with our consular process,” U.S. ambassador to Qatar, Timmy Davis, said in a tweet.
Wahl, a former Sports Illustrated sportswriter who moved to the Substack online publishing platform, had been tweeting about the Netherlands-Argentina match on Friday.
His agent said that Wahl appeared to be in “acute distress” at the extra-time start.
According to the agent, there were attempts to revive Wahl in the media box. He was then taken to a local hospital where he was declared dead on Friday.
Ned Price, spokesperson of the U.S. State Department told reporters that Wahl’s remains were being examined by a medical examiner. However, there was no evidence of foul play in Wahl’s death.
“I send my deepest condolences for his family and thank our Embassy team, Qatari partners and who worked together so successfully to fulfill their wishes,” U.S. secretary Antony Blinken said on Monday via Twitter.
Wahl wrote that he had visited a hospital during his time in Qatar, and that officials advised him that he most likely had bronchitis.
Wahl claimed in November that he was stopped briefly at a World Cup security screening point as he attempted to enter the stadium while wearing a rainbow shirt in support for the LGBTQ community. Same-sex relationships are illegal in Qatar.
He stated that World Cup security denied him entry into the United States opener against Wales, and asked him for his shirt to be removed.