US sports reporter Grant Wahl dies in Qatar during World Cup

Renowned journalist collapsed while covering the Argentina-Netherlands quarter-final

US sports reporter Grant Wahl died on Friday while covering the World Cup quarter finals in Doha. Getty Images
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Renowned US sports journalist Grant Wahl died on Friday in Qatar while covering the Argentina-Netherlands Fifa World Cup quarter-final at Lusail Stadium in Doha.

Mr Wahl, 48, is credited for building the popularity of football in the US through his reporting with Sports Illustrated and, more recently, with CBS Sports and through his own Substack, 'Fútbol with Grant Wahl,'.

According to media reports, Mr Wahl was in the press box area of the stadium when he collapsed as extra time played out on the pitch.

Paramedics responded to the scene and performed CPR.

The Wall Street Journal said he apparently suffered a heart attack.

Mr Wahl's wife, Dr Celine Gounder, a renowned epidemiologist and infectious disease expert who served on Joe Biden’s coronavirus taskforce, confirmed the news on Twitter.

"I am so thankful for the support of my husband Grant Wahl's soccer family and of so many friends who've reached out tonight. I'm in complete shock," she wrote.

The US Soccer Federation paid tribute to Mr Wahl's work in promoting the sport in the country.

“The entire US Soccer family is heartbroken to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl,” it said.

“Here in the United States, Grant’s passion for soccer and commitment to elevating its profile across our sporting landscape played a major role in helping to drive interest in and respect for our beautiful game."

Mr Wahl was among the best-known sports journalists in the US. In more than two decades at Sports Illustrated, he wrote about the rise of football in the US and covered numerous NCAA Tournaments, Olympics Games and World Cups. Qatar was his eighth World Cup.

He also wrote The Beckham Experiment in 2009, a New York Times bestseller that detailed the impact of Beckham's move to the US.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said it is in contact with Qatari officials to assist his family.

"We were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Grant Wahl and send our condolences to his family, with whom we have been in close communication," he tweeted.

"We are engaged with senior Qatari officials to see to it that his family’s wishes are fulfilled as expeditiously as possible."

Updated: December 10, 2022, 6:07 AM