Grant Wahl's Brother Speaks out After Initially Saying He Believed He Was 'Killed' Covering World Cup

Grant Wahl's brother says his family no longer believes there was any foul play involved in the death of the award-winning sports journalist. In the immediate aftermath of Grant's sudden death at the age of 48 during a FIFA World Cup match between Argentina and Netherlands in Qatar on Friday, his brother, Eric Wahl, said he believed his brother "was killed," but Tuesday, Eric took to Twitter to reveal his family's opinion had changed. 

"The family will release a statement as to cause of death soon," he tweeted. "I no longer suspect foul play. It was not [pulmonary embolism]." Following Grant's fatal medical emergency at Lusail Iconic Stadium, Eric tweeted that he was suspicious of his brother's death after the journalist was previously detained for wearing a rainbow shirt to a match and reporting on migrant deaths at the World Cup.

"My name is Eric Wahl. I live in Seattle, Washington, I am Grant Wahl's brother," Eric said in a video announcing his brother's death on social media Friday. "I am gay, I am 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."

Eric, along with Grant's wife, Dr. Céline Gounder, have kept people updated on social media as they learned more about the circumstances surrounding the sports journalist's death, with Eric theorizing that his brother may have experienced a pulmonary embolism when he collapsed in the press box and was unable to be revived by CPR. 

Monday, the U.S. State Department confirmed that Grant's body had been brought back to the U.S. from Qatar and Eric said his family planned on authorizing an autopsy. Eric also apologized Monday night for initially saying Grant's death was suspect of foul play. "I apologize unequivocally. But my initial statement stemmed from 2 things, neither of which related to racism: concerning things Grant told me, and well-known corruption," he tweeted.

Shortly before his death, Grant said on his Fútbol with Grant Wahl podcast Thursday that he had come down with "a case of bronchitis" and had been to the medical clinic at the media center twice already. Grant said that while he was feeling "slightly better," he was not "100%" as he prepared to report on Friday's match.

"Hopefully I will not cough during this podcast," Grant said. "I'm coughing a lot. Everyone's coughing here. This is by no means limited to me. So many journalists have got a crazy cough that sounds like a death rattle sometimes. The only thing that's surprising to me is, there isn't that much COVID here. I thought there'd be a real issue with that. We're not really seeing COVID cases, we're just seeing a lot of general sickness – coughing, colds. And I can't wait to be on the other side of what I have, but I'm going to be ready to go."