Sports Journalist Grant Wahl Dies in Qatar While Covering World Cup

Soccer journalist Grant Wahl, who has been in Qatar covering the World Cup, has died at age 49, according to a statement from U.S. Soccer. His wife, Celine Gounder, said she's in "complete shock."

By Lindsay Weinberg Dec 10, 2022 4:13 AMTags
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Journalist Grant Wahl has died in Qatar while covering the World Cup, U.S. Soccer shared in a statement on Dec. 9. 

The sports writer died after collapsing at the Argentina-Netherlands quarterfinal match. He was 49. The cause of his death has not been released.

"The entire U.S. Soccer family is heartbroken to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl," the organization wrote in a statement Dec. 9. "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, and its major protagonists: teams, players, coaches and the many personalities that make soccer unlike any sport." 

The statement continued, "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. As important, Grant's belief in the power of the game to advance human rights was, and will remain, an inspiration to all."

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In the wake of his passing, Grant's wife, Celine Gounder, reposted U.S. Soccer's statement and said she's "in complete shock."

A spokesperson for Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) said in a statement to NBC News that Grant "fell ill in the Lusail Stadium media tribune, during last night's quarter-final match between Argentina v Netherlands. He received immediate emergency medical treatment on site, which continued as he was transferred by ambulance to Hamad General Hospital."

The rep added, "We offer our deepest condolences to Grant's family, friends and his many close colleagues in the media. We are in touch with the US Embassy and relevant local authorities to ensure the process of repatriating the body is in accordance with the family's wishes."

Hours before Grant's death was confirmed, he shared video footage from the stadium in Lusail on his Instagram Story.


His passing comes more than two weeks after he reported on his site that he had been detained while trying to enter the United States-Wales World Cup game on Nov. 21. According to the writer, he was denied entry because he was wearing a "rainbow soccer ball t-shirt supporting the LGBTQ community." 

Grant Wahl

In their statement, U.S. Soccer also offered condolences to Celine and all of his family and friends. 

"Grant made soccer his life's work, and we are devastated that he and his brilliant writing will no longer be with us," the organization said. "We thank Grant for his tremendous dedication to and impact on our game in the United States. His writing and the stories he told will live on."

Grant wrote for publications such as Sports Illustrated and was the author of books including The Beckham Experiment: How the World's Most Famous Athlete Tried to Conquer America and Masters of Modern Soccer: How the World's Best Play the Twenty-First-Century Game. He produced the 2022 mini series Good Rivals, about the "rivalry between the United States and Mexico national soccer teams," per IMDb.

Following his death, the U.S. State Department spokesperson tweeted that they are "engaged with senior Qatari officials to see to it that his family's wishes are fulfilled as expeditiously as possible," and noted they are in "close communication" with Grant's family.

E! News has reached out to Grant's rep but hasn't received a comment.

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