U.S. soccer journalist Grant Wahl dies while covering World Cup in Qatar

In this 2014 photo, sportswriter Grant Wahl works as a sideline reporter during halftime.

Andy Mead | YCJ | Icon Sportswire |Corbis | Getty Images

Grant Wahl, a longtime soccer sportswriter, died Friday in Qatar while covering the World Cup.

NPR national supervising editor Russell Lewis tweeted that Wahl was covering the Argentina-Netherlands quarterfinal match when he died.

Multiple news organizations reported Wahl collapsed in the press tribune and was tended to by paramedics.

U.S. Soccer said in its statement that the team was “heartbroken” over Wahl’s death.

“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,” the organization said.

The cause of death was not immediately available.

In a post Dec. 5 on his personal website, Wahl said he felt sick and that medical personnel on-site at the World Cup told him he probably had bronchitis. He said he was given antibiotics.

“My body finally broke down on me,” he wrote. “Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and lots of work can do that to you. What had been a cold over the last 10 days turned into something more severe on the night of the USA-Netherlands game, and I could feel my upper chest take on a new level of pressure and discomfort.”

His wife, Dr. Céline Gounder, tweeted late Friday that the news came as a “complete shock.”

“I am so thankful for the support of my husband @GrantWahl’s soccer family & of so many friends who’ve reached out tonight,” she said.

Wahl was known for his work for Sports Illustrated and as a commentator on NPR. He wrote a well-received book about David Beckham’s foray into the U.S. soccer, titled “The Beckham Experiment.”

It was the first New York Times Bestseller with soccer as the topic.

Sports Illustrated’s top editors said late Friday that he started there in 1996 and left to pursue independent projects in 2020.

“We’re shocked and devastated at the news of Grant’s passing,” SI’s co-editors in chief, Ryan Hunt and Stephen Cannella, said. “We were proud to call him a colleague and friend for two decades. No writer in the history of SI has been more passionate about the sport he loved and the stories he wanted to tell.”

Wahl is from Mission, Kansas, and attended Princeton University as an undergraduate.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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