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US soccer journalist Grant Wahl dies while covering World Cup in Qatar

Influential U.S. soccer journalist Grant Wahl died in Qatar while covering the World Cup, his brother announced. He was 48.

While covering Argentina’s quarterfinal win over the Netherlands on Friday, Wahl, who had run his own Substack after working for Sports Illustrated, collapsed at Lusail Iconic Stadium and was rushed to a nearby hospital but passed away. It’s unclear whether he died at the hospital or in transport.

His brother, Eric, believes foul play may have been involved.

Grant Wahl
Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty
Grant Wahl was recently detained for wearing a rainbow shirt while covering the World Cup.
Instagram @grant_wahl

“My name is Eric Wahl. I live in Seattle, Washington. I am Grant Wahl’s brother. I’m gay,” he said in a video posted to his Instagram account. “I’m the reason he wore the rainbow shirt to the World Cup. 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.”

Prior to the USMNT’s World Cup game against Wales, Wahl was initially not allowed into Ahmad bin Ali Stadium and detained for 30 minutes for wearing a shirt depicting a soccer ball surrounded by a rainbow. He was eventually let into the stadium.

The Qatari government cracked down on pro-LGBTQ demonstrations at the tournament despite their original promises not to.

Wahl was married to Céline R. Gounder, an American infectious disease physician who served on the COVID-19 Advisory Board transition team for President Joe Biden.

“We’re still trying to find out,” Eric continued. “He collapsed at the stadium, was given cpr, was taken by Uber to hospital and died according to Celine. We just spoke with the state department and Celine has spoken to Ron Klain and the White House.”