Grant Wahl, well-known football journalist, dies at the World Cup in Qatar

Renowned soccer journalist Grant Wahl has died, the American Football Association reported Friday. Wahl, 48, was in Qatar covering the World Cup when he died.

Wahl’s agent, Tim Scanlan, said the journalist “appeared to have suffered some kind of acute distress in the press room” at the stadium during quarter final match between Argentina and the Netherlands, when the two teams started playing in extra time. Paramedics were called to the scene, Scanlan said, but were unable to revive him. He was taken to “a nearby hospital,” but Scanlan was unsure how he was taken there.

Wahl had sent several tweets during the match.

“The entire U.S. Soccer family is devastated to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl,” the U.S. Soccer Association said said in a statement Friday night. “Fans of football and journalism of the highest quality knew we could always count on Grant to deliver insightful and entertaining stories about our game and its key protagonists.”

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FILE — Grant Wahl speaks at a panel discussion at the Kicking + Screening Soccer Film Festival in New York on April 8, 2014 in New York City.

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images


Wahl had spoken about his health on his Spotify podcast on Thursday, saying he had come down with bronchitis while covering the World Cup.

“I took some time off here myself,” Wahl told listeners. “We had two days off here with no games. Seventeen straight days with games, and my body, I think, even when USA went out, told me, ‘Dude, you’re not getting enough sleep,’ and it rebelled against me. So I I’ve had a case of bronchitis this week I’ve been to the doctor’s office at the clinic twice now including today I feel better today I canceled pretty much everything this Thursday I had and I slept , and I’m doing a little better. You can probably tell by my voice that I’m not doing 100% here.”

Scanlan told CBS News that Wahl had an “aggressive schedule” while in Qatar.

“I asked, ‘Was it too much?’ and he said no, that’s what he lived for and he loved the WC,” Scanlan said, referring to a Dec. 3 conversation, about a week before Wahl’s death. “He had just been recognized for his eighth World Cup. He turned 48 yesterday. He was a renowned chef and loved to entertain. Twenty good friends who came to his flat last night to celebrate.”

A prolific journalist, Wahl wrote for several outlets and was a CBS Sports contributor. He was an analyst at CBS Sports HQ throughout the Qatar World Cup and wrote guest columns focusing on the US men’s national team for CBS Sports. He was also an editorial consultant for football documentaries at Paramount+.

Wahl was also married to Dr. Celine Gounder, a CBS News medical contributor. Go under tweeted that she was “in complete shock” and thanked Wahl’s “football family” and their friends for their support when the news was reported.

Ned Price, a spokesman for the US State Department, said the agency was in communication with officials in Qatar.

“We were deeply saddened to learn of Grant Wahl’s death and send our condolences to his family, with whom we have been in close communication,” Price tweeted. “We are in dialogue with senior Qatari officials to ensure that his family’s wishes are met as soon as possible.”

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber tweeted: “We are shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the tragic passing of Grant Wahl. He was a kind and caring person whose passion for football and dedication to journalism was immeasurable.”

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