Officials confirmed that Grant Wahl, a sports journalist, died while covering the World Cup Qatar.
Wahl was in Qatar to cover his eighth World Cup. He was reportedly unconscious in his press box chair during Friday’s match between Argentina, and The Netherlands.
CBS News reported that Wahl was revived by Qatari officials for about 30 minutes before being taken to Hamad General Hospital. It is unknown what caused Wahl’s death. Wahl was 49.
Wahl’s brother, Eric, shared the news in a tearful Instagram video Friday night. Moments later, Wahl’s wife, Dr. Celine Goudner, an epidemiologist and CBS News contributor, tweeted “I’m in complete shock.”
U.S. Soccer’s statement reads in part: “Grant’s belief in the power of the game to advance human rights was and will remain, an inspiration to all.”
In the days before his death, Wahl told his Spotify podcast listeners that he’d been dealing with a bout of Bronchitis he’d contracted while covering the FIFA 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,”He stated. “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.”
Wahl had a long career covering decades. Wahl wrote about sports for many outlets such as Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports, and his blog. Some of the world’s most prominent athletes expressed their grief over Wahl’s shocking death.
LeBron James reposted a Sports Illustrated cover from 2003 featuring him. Wahl had originally written the cover story, entitled James at 18 years. “The Chosen One.”
James shared his thoughts on Twitter. “You had a huge impact on me and my family and I’m so appreciative of you. A great person and journalist. Rest In Paradise Grant Wahl.”
Billie Jean King, tennis legend wrote “Heartbreaking to hear of the death of Grant Wahl. A talented journalist, Grant was an advocate for the LGBTQ community and a prominent voice for women’s soccer. He used his platform to elevate those whose stories needed telling.”
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said the department is “engaged with senior Qatari officials to see to it that his family’s wishes are fulfilled as expeditiously as possible.”