Soccer Reporter Grant Wahl Dies While Covering World Cup

Grant Wahl, a sports journalist who has covered mainly soccer and college basketball, died while covering the FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Friday. He was 49 years old, according to PEOPLE, Wahl collapsed during Argentina vs. Netherlands. Wahl's agent, Tim Scanlan, said the reporter appeared to have suffered some sort of acute distress in the press room" when the match went into extra time. Paramedics were called to the scene but weren't able to revive him, according to CBS News.

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

Wahl, who was covering his eighth World Cup, was tweeting during the match. In his final tweet, Wahl wrote "Just an incredible designed set-piece goal by the Netherlands." On Thursday, Whal spoke about his health on his podcast, saying that he contracted bronchitis. 

"I took some time off here myself," Wahl said. "We had two days off here without games. Seventeen straight days of games and my body, I think, told me, even when the U.S. went out, 'Dude, you are not sleeping enough,' and it rebelled on me. So I've had a case of bronchitis this week. I've been to the medical center at the clinic twice now, including today. I am feeling better today. I basically cancelled everything on this Thursday that I had, and I napped, and I am doing slightly better. You can probably tell by my voice that I am not doing 100% here." 

During his career, Wahl worked for Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports. After leaving Sports Illustrated in 2020, Wahl launch the podcast and a Substack newsletter. While covering the World Cup this year, Wahl was detained by Qatari officials for wearing a rainbow shirt in support of the LGBTQ community. Wahl also wrote a guest column on the U.S. men's national team for CBS Sports and worked as an editorial consultant for documentaries for Paramount+.

"We are shocked, saddened and heartbroken over the tragic passing of Grant Wahl," Major League Soccer (MLS) commissioner Don Garber wrote on Twitter. "He was a kind and caring person whose passion for soccer and dedication to journalism were immeasurable."