By Kanishka Singh, Dan Whitcomb and Amy Tennery
WASHINGTON/DOHA (Reuters) -Grant Wahl, an American sports journalist who covered the soccer World Cup, died in Qatar on Friday, his family and US Soccer said.
US Soccer said it was “deeply heartbroken to learn” of Wahl’s death. His wife responded to US Soccer’s statement on Twitter, saying she was “absolutely shocked”.
Wahl, a former Sports Illustrated journalist who has switched to online publishing platform Substack, tweeted about the Netherlands-Argentina match earlier on Friday.
FIFA, world football’s governing body, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
His agent, Tim Scanlan, told the New York Times that Wahl was in critical condition in the final minutes of the quarter-final he was covering from the press court.
Scanlan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Times, NPR and other media reported that Wahl collapsed while covering the Argentina-Netherlands match.
Wahl said in late November he was briefly detained while trying to enter a World Cup stadium in Qatar while wearing a rainbow jersey in support of the LGBTQ community in a country that considers same-sex relationships is illegal.
He said that World Cup security denied him attendance at the USA’s opening game against Wales at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan and asked him to take off his shirt.
Wahl wrote on Monday that he visited a hospital while in Qatar.
“I don’t have Covid (I test regularly here), but today I went to the medical clinic at the main media center and they said I might have bronchitis,” he posted on Substack.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Twitter that the department was in close contact with Wahl’s family.
“We are working with senior Qatari officials to ensure that his family’s wishes are met as quickly as possible,” Price said.
The US football community shared its immediate grief at the news.
“He was a kind and caring person, whose passion for football and his dedication to journalism was immense,” Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber said in response to the news of the death. by Wahl.