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Who was Grant Wahl? — the sports journalist who died covering Qatar World Cup

Grant Wahl, the sports journalist who suddenly collapsed and died covering the World Cup Friday, was one of the most well-known soccer writers in the US with a massive following on his Substack blog.

Wahl, a Kansas native, attended Princeton University and after graduating made a name for himself as an esteemed Sports Illustrated reporter — where his focus was covering soccer.

He was fired from Sports Illustrated in April 2020 after 25 years at the publication for complaining on social media about coronavirus-related pay cuts. The next month, Wahl launched his Substack.

Wahl’s last post on his “Fútbol with Grant Wahl” Substack was a free-to-read article, meaning it was available to non-paying subscribers, and was published just a few hours before his death was announced. The accredited writer detailed his thoughts on the “unstoppable” and “legendary” Croatian team.

After graduating from Princeton University, Wahl spent 25 years with Sports Illustrated.

Wahl giving an interview.
Wahl is also the author of two books.

Wahl had also written two books: The Beckham Experiment (2009) and Masters of Modern Soccer (2018).

“Grant made soccer his life’s work and we are devastated that he and his brilliant writing will no longer be with us,” US Soccer said in a statement.

It is not clear what caused Wahl’s death.

He had collapsed in the media tribune at Lusail Iconic Stadium during extra time of Argentina’s quarterfinal win over the Netherlands in front of horrified US media colleagues.

Walh giving an interview on CNN.
The cause of Wahl’s death is still not known.

The other reporters called for assistance, and Wahl was rushed to a hospital but later pronounced dead.

Wahl’s brother Eric believes foul play is involved. Wahl had been detained by Qatar stadium officials last week for wearing a shirt depicting a rainbow, and Eric claims his brother had received death threats.

Wahl leaves behind his wife, Celine Grounder, who said she is “in complete shock” over her husband’s death.

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