Skip to Content

Grant Wahl Dies In Qatar After Collapsing During World Cup Match

Grant Wahl holds a microphone while covering an international friendly.
Fred Kfoury III/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

American soccer journalist Grant Wahl has died in Qatar after collapsing while covering a match on Friday night. His death was initially announced by his brother and confirmed by his wife. He was 49 years old.

The cause of death has not been reported, but Wahl was at the Netherlands-Argentina match in Lusail when he suffered a medical episode, according to an Instagram video posted by his brother Eric Wahl. Media on the scene said Wahl was treated on the scene for about 30 minutes before being taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead early Saturday morning. In his writing and on his podcast, Wahl had mentioned that he had been feeling sick for a couple of weeks.

"We're still trying to find out," Wahl's brother wrote in a comment on his own video. "[Grant] collapsed at the stadium, was given cpr, was taken by Uber to hospital and died according to Celine [Gounder, Grant's wife]. We just spoke with the state department and Celine has spoken to Ron Klain and the White House."

Gounder and U.S. Soccer confirmed Wahl's death:

Wahl was a longtime soccer writer for Sports Illustrated until 2020; at the time of his death, he contributed coverage to CBS Sports and wrote on his own Substack, where he had been publishing daily columns on the World Cup. At the very start of the tournament, he received national attention when he said he was hassled by stadium security for wearing a rainbow-colored shirt to the USMNT-Wales match.

In the Instagram video, a visibly distraught Eric Wahl made a reference to Grant receiving death threats over the shirt. "I am the reason he wore the rainbow shirt to the World Cup," he said. "My brother was healthy. He told me he received death threats. I do not believe my brother just died. I believe he was killed. And I just beg for any help." Update (Dec. 13): Eric Wahl has said he does not believe there was foul play in his brother's death. Update (Dec. 14): An autopsy determined that Grant Wahl died of a ruptured artery.

Wahl had spoken earlier in the week about feeling ill for about 10 days, and said he had been diagnosed with bronchitis.

To multiple generations, Wahl was synonymous with American soccer writing. Starting at a time when few here paid attention to the sport, he covered it with the attention and care he believed it deserved. Wahl was in the top of his field, and he was beloved by colleagues—just look at any of the tributes to him on social media tonight. It’s hard to imagine the state of the game in this country being what it is without his work.

Correction: The original version of this post stated that Grant Wahl was 48 when he died. He was 49.

Already a user?Log in

Welcome to Defector!

Sign up to read another couple free blogs.

Or, click here to subscribe!

If you liked this blog, please share it! Your referrals help Defector reach new readers, and those new readers always get a few free blogs before encountering our paywall.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter