The soccer community — and the journalism community as a whole — received utterly devastating news late Friday night ET/early Saturday morning Qatar time. Grant Wahl passed away while covering the Netherlands/Argentina quarterfinal at the 2022 World Cup. The last tweet from his account came shortly after the Dutch pulled level with the Argentinians in the 10th minute of 2nd-half stoppage time on a set piece.
Wahl’s brother, Eric, first reported Grant’s death on an Instagram video, stating in a comment that Wahl had collapsed at Lusail Stadium and was given CPR before being taken by Uber to the hospital, where he later died. In the video, Eric Wahl, who is gay, expressed skepticism over the circumstances while stating that he believed that his brother had been murdered. Grant Wahl was detained by Qatari authorities on Nov. 21 for wearing a rainbow shirt in support of his brother; Qatar has faced heavy criticism for its track record of discrimination toward the LGBTQ community.
Wahl had carved out a role for himself as an independent journalist after a number of years with Sports Illustrated covering the biggest events in soccer, including countless World Cups. His Substack newsletter boasted thousands of subscribers and featured magazine-style stories and interviews with some of the biggest names in the sport.
U.S. Soccer released a statement on its Twitter account:
U.S. Soccer Statement On The Passing Of Grant Wahl: pic.twitter.com/CBp1mCK1mQ— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) December 10, 2022
Wahl’s wife, renowned disease expert Dr. Celine Gounder, tweeted that she was “in complete shock” at her husband’s death.
In all honestly, this is extremely hard news to process, not only due to Wahl’s standing in the journalism world but with the holiday season well underway. Our thoughts and condolences are with his wife, his brother, and the rest of his family.