How did Grant Wahl die? Tributes pour in for American soccer journalist after sudden death in Qatar at World Cup

Honors are pouring out for renowned journalist Grant Wahl. The 48-year-old, who helped popularize American football, died suddenly while covering the Qatar World Cup.

Wahl appeared to be in good health overall but suffered from bronchitis.

“He cared about people. He was empathetic, and whenever he saw something was wrong, Grant wrote about it,” said agent and friend Tim Scanlan.

Expressing his deepest condolences, US men’s national team captain Tyler Adams tweeted, “As players, we have tremendous respect for the work of journalists. & Grant was a huge voice in football that has tragically fallen silent.”

Lebron James, whom Wahl famously portrayed for Sports Illustrated while James was in high school, also paid tribute.

“It’s a tragic loss. It’s unfortunate to lose someone as great as he is,” he said.

Wahl collapsed in the final minutes of the quarterfinal match between the Netherlands and Argentina. Witnesses said he fell to the ground and was revived by rescue workers for about 20 minutes before being taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

In his final days, the sportswriter told his listeners he had bronchitis.

“So many journalists have a crazy cough. It sounds like a death rattle at times,” Wahl said on a podcast, adding he had tested negative for COVID and was receiving medication to treat it.

Wahl has long been an outspoken voice in football journalism and recently reported on the living conditions of migrant workers in Qatar.

“The story is that they don’t get paid well. You are not treated well. A lot of people died,” Wahl said on the podcast.

Just three weeks ago, Wahl wore a rainbow T-shirt to a World Cup game in Qatar, where same-sex relationships are illegal. He said security initially refused to let him into the stadium.

The US State Department said it is in contact with Qatari officials to fulfill Wahl’s family wishes, but has not yet announced when Wahl’s body will be returned to the family.

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